One day, my mother asked me, “What’s your plan for the Spring Festival?” I answered, “Gather with some friends, get some traditional food and go to several celebration events around here.” It has now been four years since I’ve been able to spend one of the most important festivals in China with my parents.
“Do you celebrate the Spring Festival the same way as we do?”
“Do you have class on that day?”
“Do you have Chinese food there?”
Mom’s questions continue, and continue, and continue.
The Chinese Spring Festival, aka Chinese New Year, is one of the most important holidays in China. It is always the first day of lunar New Year. Families will gather and celebrate Spring Festival together. You might want to know if traditions like family dinners, my grandma’s food, lighting fireworks with friends, and decorating the house seem far away from me. The answer is no. Here in the Greater Lansing area, there are lots of events to provide you with an opportunity to experience the culture and celebrate the New Year. Bring your families and friends and come join the fun!
Tradition No.1: Fireworks
Legend says that there was a monster named Nian, who attacked the village on New Year’s Eve. At one New Year’s Eve, while Nian was coming towards the village, children were playing firecrackers. As soon as monster Nian heard the sound, it ran away. Since then, fireworks have been a tradition of celebrating New Year.
Tradition No. 2: Red Envelopes
The red envelope is my favorite tradition of Chinese Spring Festival. Usually, parents and elder family members will put some money in red envelopes and give them to children. They would put the envelopes underneath children’s pillows, which means good luck. The next week when children wake up, they will see the envelopes.
Tradition No. 3: Symbolism
One other thing that Chinese people would do in Spring Festival is to put the character 福(“Fu”, means happiness and good fortune) upside down on their doors. The word 倒(upside down) pronounces the same as the word 到(arrive). When Chinese people say “福倒了”(The character Fu is upside down), it also means“福到了”(Fu is here).
This year in Lansing, Chinese students, scholars and community members are celebrating the Spring Festival at different locations. Check them out!
Sunday, January 26th
Lunar New Year Festival (Spring Festival) in McDonel Hall
7:00 – 9:00pm
*Free event for all
Thursday, January 30th
East Neighborhood Chinese New Year Celebration
5:00 – 8:00pm
Hubbard Dining Hall*
*Must have meal ticket to attend
Friday, January 31st
MSUwe54 Spring Festival Gala
6:00pm – 9:00pm
East Lansing Marriott at University Place*
*Must have ticket to attend. Tickets are free. Contact Yanxuan Li, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, February 1st
Meridian Mall Chinese New Year Celebration
1:30 – 6:00pm
Sunday, February 2nd
CSSA and CUSA Chinese New Year Spring Festival
7:00 – 10:00pm
*Must have tickets to attend. Contact Mengkun Wang, email@example.com.
For a full list of events check out the OISS Events Calendar.
Guest blogger Jiaying “Star” Chen is a Programming & Orientation Intern at the Office for International Students and Scholars and bachelor’s degree student in Elementary Education. She is actively involved in campus life through various student organizations including the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association (CUSA). In addition, she continues to practice the art of calligraphy.