On February the 12th, we will step into the Chinese lunar New Year. So, if you feel that you have already messed up 2021, then you can start again with the Chinese New Year.
Our Chinese teacher, Haifeng Sun, has spent the last few classes teaching us the culture behind this Chinese tradition. We have learnt that Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China. It is also known as Chūn Jié – 春节， “The Spring Festival.”, and the celebration lasts for 15 days. Chinese people also have their own version of a horoscope which is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal. This year the Chinese will be celebrating the year of the Ox，niú nián - 牛年. During this celebration, homes and business places are decorated with red paper scrolls on the door post with Chinese characters that have positive messages and best wishes for the new year. All the other decorations are usually red and gold as these are very important colours in the Chinese culture.
On the night of New Year’s Eve, to bring in the new year Chinese family gather for a lovely dinner. The most important dish at that dinner is jiǎozi - 饺子, dumplings. These dumplings can have various fillings, usually minced pork with vegetables and are folded in the shape that resembles the Chinese gold ingot. They eat this especially on the New Year’s Eve with the hope of it bringing wealth and prosperity for the coming year. They also eat fish and drink Chinese rice wines with their meal all with the hope of having a prosperous new year.
This is just a little of what we learn during our weekly Chinese classes. At the IB you can study Chinese (Mandarin) from a beginner’s level and you do not just learn the language, but the culture. Each class you get to learn an intriguing amount of information that keeps you interested, but you have to put in the work to succeed.