To the Chinese people, Spring Festival is as important as Christmas to people in America. As a part of Chinese tradition, the Festival starts from the beginning of the last lunar month, and every year Festival begins on a different date. The festival celebrations extend until the lantern festival on the 15th of the first lunar month; this means that the Spring Festival celebrations last 15 days in China.
The Chinese zodiac cycles every 12 years, and each year is named after an animal. This year is called horse year; the other animals include rat, cow, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, chicken, dog and pig.
According to the Chinese tradition, before the New Year, people should do a thorough cleaning of their houses to welcome the New Year. Every home hangs up the paper-cuts for window decoration and puts up New Year pictures and Spring Festival couplets on the door. Before the New Year, people also have another traditional custom to buy a new set of clothes and shoes for children.
On the New Year`s day, a reunion dinner is important to Chinese people. Whole family members come together to eat dinner and watch Spring Festival Gala. The Spring Festival Gala is a traditional program. Every channel will play this.
During the dinner, elders give money to younger generations as a lunar New Year gift. After the dinner, elders watch the New Year program, and children light the fireworks; there is so much jollification. At midnight, people eat dumplings and wait to count backwards for the last 10 seconds of the year to welcome in the New Year. There is a traditional custom in which people keep their lights on all night for the first day of the lunar New Year.
The Office of Global Education celebrates Spring Festival at Mississippi College every year. This year, the celebration was held on Mississippi College`s campus in the Multicultural Center on Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. An Ran, a Chinese instructor, invited all Chinese students by email. The activity was free and open to every student who would like to come celebrate with Chinese students.
A student, TaoHu, who attend the New Year celebration, said this annual celebration has helped many Chinese students at MC who miss home. He said there were many great performances, and there were many different Chinese foods for people who came to celebrate.
“We are celebrating with America students that was different feelings than celebrating with my family,” he said.
Ling Ruyi, who began attending Mississippi College this year, said this was the first time she celebrated the New Year far away from her family.
“We made a lot of dumplings for this New Year. Actually, this is my first time to make dumplings by myself,” she added.
The Office of Global Education will be celebrating the Chinese lunar New Year every year. It is welcome to people who want to come celebrate with Chinese students and help reduce their homesickness.
– XiaoXian Ni, Contributing Writer