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As an international student coming from Taiwan, I’m going to share with you how I celebrate the Chinese New Year.

 

What exactly is the Chinese New Year?

In most East Asian countries, other than using the regular calendar, we also use the lunar calendar, which is an old calendar system based on the monthly cycles of the Moon’s phases. The Chinese New Year is referred to as the new year on the lunar calendar. It typically happens around mid-January to mid-February when children and adults can all have a break and enjoy their time with their loved ones. Families and friends will gather together to celebrate the New Year.

 

What do we do in the Chinese New Year?

Before the New Year, it is important to do a “Spring Clean” that everyone in the family is involved in, which involves a complete cleaning of the house, so that we could welcome an entire new-year cycle with a tidy environment. Parents would also buy new clothes for themselves and their kids to wear on New Year’s Day as a symbol of brand-new start.

On the New Year’s Eve, we would have sumptuous feasts at our grandparents’ house that you usually wouldn’t eat at usual times, just like many westerners do on Christmas Eve. Children and elders will receive red envelopes from adults and their relatives, including a certain amount of money as symbols of good luck. Getting red envelopes is usually the most exciting thing for kids to look forward to in the New Year.

During the New Year period, we will visit families and friends and give blessings to each other. People will also hang up spring couplets with poems around the door that symbols safety and fortune. Also, much small gambling of poker and Mahjong will take place as a traditional activity at this time.

 

What does Chinese New Year mean to me?

As a Taiwanese, I am glad that I got another New year to celebrate other than January 1st. Each year I always look forward to the upcoming Chinese New Year. My grandparents will always arrange a family trip that all of my relatives will reunite, and then I can hang out with my 8 cousins. We would take a group photo as a record to keep track of our changes and growth. Other than that, the New Year gives me a chance to take a break, and look back on what I have achieved in the last year by appreciating those who helped and supported me. As this is the first Chinese New Year that I am spending in a foreign country, though it may not be like what I used to have back in Taiwan, my girlfriend and I will try our best to bring the New Year vibe here at Newcastle.

In the New Year, I wish everyone happiness and prosperity. More importantly, I hope you enjoy good health and all the best! Xin Nian Kuai Le!

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