Chunjie 2.0

Jason Klanderman
February 19, 2013

Hey Everyone,

Today is the last day of Chunjie, the Chinese Spring Festival.
A week ago, I had six friends over to my Chinese host family to celebrate the Chinese new year. This was in a word, fantastic!
My host parents were really happy to see how many of my friends wanted to come to their house for Chunjie, and they did an amazing job.
The night was filled with way too much great food, which is typical for Chinese family style dining, and fun. We watched the CCTV New Year’s Gala, which is the most watched television program in China every year. It is basically a collection of all the best artists in China who all perform. Apart from that, around eleven ‘o clock at night, we started to ‘bao jiaozi’, meaning making our own dumplings. It is a tradition in China that on New Years Eve, you and your family make your own jiaozi, and only eat the jiaozi after midnight, so in the new year. This is supposed to bring good luck and fortune. The tradition does however vary depending on which part of China you are in, for instance there are parts in the South of China where people eat very long noodles, because the length of the noodles signifies longevity.

Making Jiaozi for the first time was really fun, especially with everyone there. It was a shame that some of us mostly butchered them completely. But it was definitely a learning experience!

After the Jiaozi were made, and it was midnight, we went outside to light fireworks.
What I had heard was indeed true, it was like nothing I’d ever seen or heard. The moment we stepped outside it was like walking into a war zone. There were explosions everywhere, and at times the sky was lit up so brightly by all the fireworks, it was light as day.

After new years eve however, the fireworks did not stop. The whole week, everyday, during the day and at night, I’ve been hearing explosions nearby, both at my homestay and at school. This is really cool because it shows just how important this holiday is for the Chinese people. It is actually a full week of celebrations, if not more. My host family asked me if we had anything like this in the US. The only thing that could start to describe Chunjie in China would be Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July and New Year’s eve all in one week.

Also next week Friday several classmates and I have planned a weekend trip to Harbin in the north of China. The reason for our visit is the International Ice Festival. So next week some packing tips will follow.

Below are some pictures of the celebrations!

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Jason Klanderman

<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>

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