The Charger Blog

University of New Haven Student Describes Lunar New Year as a Time of Happiness

This year, the Lunar New Year – also called the Chinese New Year – falls on February 5. For Xuanfeng Fang ’20 M.S., a graduate student in computer science from China, it is a time of celebration that brings families together for much more than one day.

February 4, 2019

By Xuanfeng Fang ’20 M.S.

lion dance and writing couplets
Lunar New Year celebrations typically include the lion dance and writing couplets.

This is the fifth year that I have been in the United States and, therefore, unable to spend the Lunar New Year with my family. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2019 will be the year of pig.

The Lunar New Year is also called Spring Festival in the Chinese culture, and it usually brings about the reunion of the entire family. Based on the lunar calendar, it typically takes place in late January and early February. In traditional Chinese culture, the Spring Festival is a series of dates rather than a specific day, and we have a “principle” for the celebration of each day.

student
Traditional Chinese food eaten during the celebration.

About seven days before the Lunar New Year’s Day, we observe an “off-year,” which is the prelude to the Spring Festival. On this day, we usually send the Kitchen God back to heaven to report to the imperial court the instances that happened in the past year.

On the Lunar New Year’s Eve, we welcome the Kitchen God back to our house with a variety of fireworks and firecrackers. Usually, the entire family will get together and enjoy special traditional foods, especially dumplings and rice cakes. Each family then writes couplets containing best wishes for the following year, which will then be attached to the sides of doors.

In the five days following the Lunar New Year, we have different ways of celebrating, including our lion dance, greetings with relatives and friends, and gathering “lucky money.”

In my memory, the Lunar New Year always means peace and happiness.By Xuanfeng Fang ’20 M.S.

The fifteenth day after the Lunar New Year is a special day called “Yuanxiao Festival.” That day, a traditional Chinese food called Yuanxiao will be served. Usually, the Yuanxiao Festival is the last day of the Lunar New Year Celebration.

Remarkably, fish is something that is indispensable during the Lunar New Year celebration, since in Mandarin, the pronunciation of “fish” is as same as “have something saved for the future.” In my memory, the Lunar New Year always means peace and happiness.