Student Engagement Ambassador, Pok, writes about his experience of celebrating Chinese/Lunar New Year whilst at university. 

Wishing everyone Happy Chinese New Year 2022!
Zhu da jia xin nian kuai le 祝大家新年快乐!

Every year, people from across the world travel back home to reunite with their families, spend quality time with one another and celebrate New Year together! The official celebration starts on Chinese/Lunar New Year Eve with families wearing red-coloured clothes – red is the lucky colour that signals good luck, joy and happiness. Families also gather around large round tables with lots of home-cooked food, i.e. fish. This dish relates to this greeting nian nian you yu年年有余 – meaning great abundance and surplus year after year with fish being the symbol for this abundance.

Different dishes eaten at Chinese/Lunar New Year.

For international students who were unable to travel back home this year, there were lots of fun events happening on campus where we could celebrate Chinese/Lunar New Year with friends and staff. The photos above were taken at our Chinese Fellowship Dinner to celebrate the second day of New Year. We had lots of food and the top two images are fried fish and fish ball, which are always present in a Chinese/Lunar New Year meal, as they signify wishes of abundance. Food is the biggest element alongside family gatherings/reunions in the celebration of New Year.

Interactive board with "Happy Chinese New Year" written on it. Below is a whiteboard with "Happy New Year" written on it in both English and Mandarin

On the 5th day of New Year, we had an event to celebrate the New Year at Small World Café with international students from many different backgrounds! We did lots of interactive activities to introduce the New Year, including learning the pronunciation of seven common New Year greetings and the meaning of each respective greeting. This was really fun as everyone was learning at the same time how we could greet one another during Chinese/Lunar New Year.

Red paper and Chinese Mandarin hand writing

Next, we moved on to writing New Year wishes in Mandarin Chinese on pieces of red card/paper using a brush and black ink. These are commonly used in the New Year to write Chinese calligraphy, which is a highly recommended activity to do during the New Year. Finally, we did some DIY crafting where we folded red paper into a Chinese Fan.

Red paper folded into a fanI was able to take part in many exciting events at the University of Reading, which helped to build up the spirit of celebrating Chinese/Lunar New Year. The activities mentioned in this blog are only a few of the things that were on offer in during the New Year.

Hoped you enjoyed reading this blog!

Pok Lim Lai (Student Engagement Ambassador)

To find student events throughout the year take a look at the Student Life event pages.

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