Dumplings, fireworks and red decorations: foreign students of VVSU talk about the traditions of the Chinese New Year

9 февраля 2024 International Relations

In Russia, the New Year and Christmas holidays have passed already. However, the people of China are just preparing for the most important and longest holiday of the year.

New Year, also called Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is the most important among all Chinese festivals. It is celebrated on one of the days between January 21 and February 21 and the date changes every year. This year it will be celebrated on February 10th.

VVSU students from China spoke about their New Year traditions and how they were going to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Russia.

Ma Haijun, graduate student at the Institute of Creative Industries

Because of my studies, I won''t be able to go back to China to celebrate New Year with my family, so I will cook New Year''s dinner at the dorm with my roommate and invite our Russian friends to visit. And after the festive dinner, I will tell them about the culture and traditions of the Chinese New Year.

In China, the New Year is always celebrated in the company of family and friends. The day before, everyone gathers for a big family dinner at one table, chats, eats traditional dishes, watches TV shows, has fun and walks all night. The holiday is a mixture of street parades, folk traditions and mass celebrations.

Many people who work abroad return to China to celebrate the New Year with loved ones. In China, the holiday is always associated with fireworks, colorful dragon and lion dances. I think this New Year with Russian friends will definitely be unforgettable for me!

Liu Yongchao, student at the Institute of International Business, Economics and Management

On the holiday eve, our whole family makes dumplings, decorates the house and watches the TV show “New Year’s Party.”

There are two main dishes on the table - dumplings and fish. They symbolize prosperity in the new year. But, in addition to cooking, it is very important to decorate your home with various red items, as this color signifies good luck, abundance and wards off evil spirits. It is also a traditional Chinese custom to place the Chinese character for “luck” in front of the door to welcome the New Year with good luck and celebration.

We also cut out symbols of the year from paper. For example, in 2024 it is a dragon. All New Year''s decorations should symbolize prosperity and success.

And, of course, what would New Year be without gifts? In China, money is considered the main gift. The elders give red envelopes with money to the younger ones. The tradition originated from a legend in which the evil demon Sui frightened children and gave them a terrible fever. To protect the child, parents hid a bag with eight coins under the pillow, which symbolized the eight fairies. They are designed to scare away the evil demon and bring good luck to children.

Additional gifts can be toys, clothes, sweets, books, anything that symbolizes the emotional connection between family members.

Xu Lai, student at the Institute of Law

There is a special attitude towards the new moon in China. What can we say about the first new moon of the year. This is the time to make wishes. It is believed that all thoughts and fears materialize. That is why everyone wishes each other health, career growth and prays for the well-being of their family in churches.

Chinese New Year celebrations culminate with the Lantern Festival. The tradition dates back more than 2 thousand years. People go out the streets, walk and light lanterns of all sizes and shapes, representing hope, success and happiness, and also light fireworks and set off fireworks, which, according to popular belief, scare away evil spirits.

Congratulations to all students and wish you all the best for the new year!