Spring festival is such a beautiful name for a festival. Only by hearing it you immediately think of hope and renewal, advancement and joy. My journey to discover the Spring Festival is quite long and it started when I first interacted and made friends with the Chinese teachers that came to Romania at Confucius institute and celebrated this magical festival.
The festival of hope
Because I was a volunteer at Confucius institute and I was familiar with all the teachers I had the pleasure to assist the preparations for more than 15 kind of food and the decoration of their doors with red couplets and small red lanterns. I tasted the most delicious kinds of food and ate hot pot together and watched the New Year Gala. We discussed about what New year means and the legend behind the Chinese New Year’s Eve with the monster that would attack people and bring disaster. I learned about the red envelopes that grandparents need to give to the little ones and all the arrangements made for every single day to visit the relatives. By respecting these customs, spreading joy and welcoming the new year with the greatest happiness, the Spring Festival is not only a unique celebration that represents the Chinese culture, but also a 3, 500 years old celebration that represents hope for humanity.
Every year, the institute would organize a special Spring festival celebration in the biggest auditorium room in town where students and teachers would gather to sing, dance, recite poems, presenting Chinese culture. I remember the auditorium filled with people eager to discover what is the meaning behind the Spring Festival and to learn more about Chinese culture. The only bad part is that they could not taste the delicious Chinese food, not even jiaozi, because who would cook for 500 people? The joy that we felt was immeasurable and everyone form the audience was not only understanding the true meaning of Spring Festival but, also, they were eager to talk with all the Chinese teachers. I remember the expression on a kid’s face when the show ended: it was all a smile, with glowing eyes saying to his parents: “I want to go to China! I want to go to China!” That moment my inner voice was also yelling: I want to go to China! Since then, I had a strong wish to keep on studying hard and go to experience the Chinese Festival with my own eyes.
During the pandemic The Spring Festival brought hope to the entire city, because the university organized an online celebration, when everyone thought that this beautiful festival will not be held. The Confucius institute gathered live and recorded performances of many famous Chinese singers and dancers. The joy and hope were spread again and people found this online gala a wonderful experience and a window to greater hope for the future. Those happy moments brought joy and happiness in people’s hearts and they all felt it was a new beggining. The Spring Festival has brought hope into their hearts.
A unique combination of modern and tradition
It took me 3 years to make my dream come true. I arrived in China last year, right after Spring Festival and I was overwhelmed by everything that surrounded me: the modern architecture, the infrastructure and all the technology used in everyday life, hence life was made so much easier than I ever imagined. I was surprised to find how people in a country where a modern and bustling life can combine with the practice of drinking tea and practicing Taichi. I think the fast life pace is slowed down by all the traditions and customs that Chinese preserved so well for hundreds of years. China is a rich country in all aspects: with a rich culture and history that takes a lifetime to be studied, and with a broad range of traditions that have been kept for thousand of years, but still at the same time, this country could never be told that is stuck in the past. On the contrary, it has one of the best economies in the world and it is always making new discoveries and advancement in medicine, architecture, infrastructure, technology and is setting a fast step for all countries in the world. Tradition and modern times seem to be in contrast in other countries, because in Europe there is always the problem of keeping the traditions among the younger generation and so more countries should take a look at China and get inspiration from how they integrate the past with the modern times.
A worldwide known celebration
Chinese people have kept this festival for generations and have maintained their traditions year after year. Moreover, they combined the traditions with technology so people can have an idea of what China really is: a splendid country that knows how to cherish its history, culture and festivals. London and San Francisco are proud of having the biggest Chinese New Year celebration outside China with many lanterns and dragon and lion dancing. Many people go to experience this special celebration and learn more about the Chinese culture, in general.
The Spring Migration is also an important part of the Spring Festival that stands for the true meaning of going back to your family and reunion stands for unity. No other place on Earth has this kind of phenomenon, therefore we all should learn from Chinese culture that family is so important because after all family is the foundation of the society. If family is a true place of love and joy, where everyone learns and develop, then the future of society is bright as a sky without clouds. Chinese society values a lot family and respect all relatives and this shows that China will definitely have a bright future. Since the family is the place where inpiduals are most directly impacted, it is seen as the center of society. This is where values may be instilled and change can be made most easily. The society can accomplish great things when families have faith in their ability to succeed, support one another, and help one another grow and reach new heights. However, society will not advance if families are kept in a perpetual state of destitution and hopelessness. Speaking of a single family, the influence that a family has on society is minimal. That is significant, though, when discussing families as a whole. We also have the power to positively impact one another since we are all influenced by one another in our interconnected systems. Early interactions help shape a child's expectations for the rest of their life. They later apply these life skills to their interactions with colleagues, acquaintances, loved ones, and even strangers. People's interactions with society are frequently shaped by these familial ties. They have an impact on the connections they will make in the community. They will learn to respect one another despite their differences and cooperate to achieve shared objectives from a family that is powerful. Thus, family is crucial to preventing us from becoming reclusive, solitary beings incapable of interacting, building relationships, or cooperating with others. A family is like a good ingredient in a hot pot. In the end, the hot pot tastes delicious because of each small ingredient, so is in the society, where all families form a perfect hot pot.
Now, all the streets are filled with lanterns and everywhere you see joy and happiness. If anyone feels a little down, upset or unhappy should walk the Chinese streets in full celebration, and they will feel better. Lanterns are a sign of prosperity and they welcome the new year with a lot of good wishes and the hope for a more successful year. I simply like to admire the different kind of lanterns that are everywhere, in a way I feel like the starts on the sky shine on the street through these beautiful lanterns. Moreover, this year is the year of the dragon, the mythical creature that always represented the Chinese nation. My sister is a dragon and she is very excited about this. The dragon is the fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac. The dragon is a symbol of luck, power, wellness, and the masculine element Yang in Chinese culture. Of all the animals in the Chinese zodiac, the dragon is special since it is the sole legendary being. Many other civilizations, including Western ones, view the dragon as a representation of evil and darkness. However, the dragon is seen as a symbol of imperial authority, prosperity, and well-being in China. In my culture, the dragon is seen as an obstacle that the hero needs to overcome. In many stories heroes fight with dragons to free beautiful princesses that they hold locked inside a tower. However, Chinese people do not picture the dragon as something evil, but as a sign of prosperity. If I can say, the dragon is the coolest mythical animal I know and so Chinese people are also very cool. I believe this new year will be a year of prosperity and luck with greater accomplishments for Chinese people and for all of us. I also hope that Chinese culture will spread around the world as a dragon that in its flight will bring a lot of knowledge to everyone.
I am looking forward to taking part into this celebration and experiencing its true meaning, as I felt years ago when my journey started and to actually fulfill my dream.
Happy New Year!