Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival. In 2016, the first day of Chinese New Year fell on Monday, February 8th. That day the attendants of the Chinese course at PetrSU were lucky to celebrate the holiday thanks to the native speaking teacher Geng Liping from Anhui Normal University.
Thus the Chinese course started in mid December 2015, the students could demonstrate their new knowledge and congratulate their teacher in Chinese. They read verses and tongue-twisters and then translated them into Russian. Also, the students presented gifts and hand-made pierogi and kalittoas – traditional Karelian cakes. In return, Mrs. Geng gave the students thread pendants that represent the bundle of infinity and symbolize luck and happiness.
The video film about the Chinese holidays and traditional Chinese medicine continued the meeting. It was interesting to learn that Chinese New Year's Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. They cook ravioli as it symbolizes unity and prosperity of a family. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean the house, in order to sweep away ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of good fortune or happiness, wealth and longevity. Children get money in red paper envelopes as gifts.
The film also acquainted the students with other Chinese holidays celebrated during the year, for example, the Qixi Festival, which is also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day. According to legend, the goddess "Zhi Nü" (the star Vega) fell in love with the farmer boy "Niu Lang" (the star Altair), but was disapproved by her mother goddess. As punishment, they were separated by the Milky Way and could only meet once a year at night on the seventh day of the 7th month on the Chinese calendar.
After the film Mrs. Geng sang a fragment from the Anhui opera that has 300 years history and plays an important role in development of the Chinese music theatre. The students from Petrozavodsk State Glazunov Conservatoire read contemporary verses, sang a children’s song about the New Year and wished the students health, all the best, accomplishment of desires, family harmony and wealth. Let all these wishes come true in 2016!