Chun Jie, the Spring Festival, happens this Saturday at midnight. This year is the year of the snake. It’s really amazing to see Beijing being completely transformed in preparation for the year’s largest holiday. Buildings, roads, parks, restaurants are all being decorated. Red and gold are the main colors of the celebrations thought to bring luck, and ward off evil spirits.
I will be spending the New Year with my homestay family, giving me the opportunity to experience the coming of the New Year from a truly Chinese perspective. Where better to experience the largest Chinese holiday of the year, than in the nation’s capital? Chun Jie involves family, home-made dumplings, drinking, and explosions. The description given by my homestay family was, imagine fireworks on the 4th of July in the US, multiply that by 22 million (the amount of people living in Beijing) and that for 5 nights in a row. Many students who do not have a homestay family will be able to spend Chun Jie with the other homestay families. My family will be hosting a total of 7 students. Also, the extended family of my homestay family might make an appearance, so I’m really excited.
In the days after Chun Jie, I will have a few days off next week, since all of China basically shuts down. Even now most restaurants and small shops in the city are already closed. This is because most shop owners travel back home to the countryside to be with their families. Getting lunch the other day was thus a significant challenge. During my days off however, I plan to go with several classmates to visit Harbin, in the north of China. This city is famous for its International Ice Festival, which features massive ice sculptures made by artists from all over China. I am immensely looking forward to this trip, as we will be taking a sleeper train to Harbin (about 12 hours).
I’ll try to post some pictures of the celebrations next week.
To everyone Xin Nian Kuai Le!!
(happy new year!)
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<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);">Jason Klanderman, originally from Chicago, grew up in Amsterdam. He has travelled extensively through Europe and Asia. He is an International Politics, History and Global and International Studies triple major, with a minor in Chinese at Penn State University. When not in State College, where he is currently living, you can find him traveling between Amsterdam, Singapore, and various other places, visiting family and friends. His hobbies include reading, writing, cooking and going to the gym. Read about his experiences as he tackles the middle kingdom, China, during his spring semester 2013.</span></p>