A New Year in the Capital City

Alexa Penton
January 31, 2014

This year, it is estimated that 3.6 billion people will make journeys home for what is known as 春节, the Spring Festival, Chūnyùn, or perhaps more clearly: Chinese New Year. In 2014, New Year’s Eve landed on Thursday night, January 30. The IES dorm-dwelling students were lucky enough to join host families in celebrating. Perry’s host mother cooked an array of traditional Chinese foods, including garlic and eggplant, stir-fried potato slivers, boiled mushrooms, steamed fish, and my personal favorite: jiǎozi dumplings. (We were very thankful for the wealth of food. During Chinese New Year, nearly all restaurants close down so that the owners and employees may make their respective trips home.) Afterwards, we watched CCTV’s annual New Year broadcast and snacked on Chinese New Year treats like walnuts, peanuts, oranges, and hard candies in red (lucky!) wrappers. As the clock struck midnight, Beijing erupted in firecrackers. It is hard to describe exactly what happens to the capital city during Chinese New Year; it’s like being in a very colorful warzone. Included below is my attempt at capturing on film those first few moments of mania in Beijing!

The character “fú” represents wealth, fortune, and luck. Many Chinese will hang the fú character upside down: fúdào 福倒 (luck turning upside down) sounds the same as fúdào 福到 (luck arrives).

The plate of jiǎozi to the left was stacked high with dumplings…but not for very long.

Kělè (“cola” in English!) loved his new American friends, but he wasn’t a fan of the loud firecrackers.

Peanuts, walnuts, sweet crabapples (we think?), and coconut- and coffee-flavored hard candies followed dinner.

They take their fireworks seriously here!

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs

Alexa Penton

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi! My name is Alexa Penton and I&#39;m an undergrad at the University of Mississippi pursuing degrees in Chinese Language and Culture and Art History. I started photography as a hobby in high school, and have since expanded my collection to 10 film cameras and one digital. Most of my photos and videos document my travels at home and abroad. I am particularly inspired by the qualities of light, memories, natural history, nontraditional developing practices, and nontraditional portraiture. I call Orlando, Florida home, but can&#39;t wait to spend a whole semester living and learning in Beijing!</span></p>

2014 Spring
Home University:
University of Mississippi
Art History
Chinese Language
Explore Blogs