新年好 - Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Trip Start May 05, 2012
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49
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Trip End Mar 01, 2013


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Flag of China  , Tianjin,
Saturday, February 9, 2013

Xin Nian Kuai Le - AGAIN!
Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year everyone, also know as Chun Jie or Spring Festival.

Spring Festival is the major holiday for China and is bigger for the Chinese than Christmas is for us. It is like our Christmas has been put on steroids! The ENTIRE country returns to their respective home towns to spend the week staying with family, visiting friends and lighting fireworks; oh and some food gets eaten as well.

The festivities started on Saturday the 9th which is the Lunar New Year's Eve. This is the major day where families gather together and share a huge feast, much like how we would on Christmas Day. Before dinner a row of firecrackers are let off then everyone enjoys the meal. After much eating, talking and drinking of BaiJiu (a strong Chinese alcohol that, while smelling like paint stripper/meths is actually ok) everyone goes outside at midnight to let off as many fireworks as they can which gives off the impression that you are in the middle of a war zone.   I cannot understate the intensity of the fireworks at midnight. According to Chinese tradition, a long time ago there once was a monster called Nian that would come on the first day of every new year and terrorise villages, devouring crops, animals and even children. The Chinese were very afraid of this beast until they discovered that it was terrified of the colour red and even more terrified of loud noises. So to scare away the beast they all donned red clothing, decorated their houses in red paper hangings and let off as many fireworks as they could! The beast was scared away by all these things and so the tradition of lighting fireworks and red being the luckiest colour in China were born. Following on from this tradition the Chinese light loads and loads of fireworks of all kinds at Spring Festival and the noise never stops. The biggest night is by far New Years Eve but the explosions continue throughout the week.

We were lucky enough to be invited by our boss David to have New Years Eve dinner with his wife's family. We were very happy to be invited to experience an authentic Chinese New Years feast so we jumped at the chance. We were warmly welcomed into the home and, as the grandfather and grandmother spoke no English we had a great time practising our Chinese too. The home cooked food was amazing and the BaiJiu was flowing. We let off firecrackers before dinner and at midnight went out to watch the city explode around us and join in the pyromanical fun!

There are no regulations around what kind of fireworks you can buy in China - no surprise there -  so the intensity of the displays that go on are incredible. I will put up a couple of videos from midnight. I have never experienced anything like it and it was amazing.

Aside form Spring Festival not much has changed for us since our last post. We have gotten right into our routine again of living in China with gym, badminton, Chinese class and teaching taking up most of our time. We start work again on the 20th of Feb and only have 3 more weeks of teaching before we start heading home! We can't wait to get home but are very quickly running out of time to do all the things we need to get done before we head home.
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Comments

carly on

Xin Nian Kuai Le! Hope you got some nice hong bao too - I told my parents to just transfer my news years money to me. Unfortunately, no luck there. See you guys soon! x

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