The Chinese New Year is one of the longest Chinese holidays and is celebrated all over the world as one of the most important holidays and some of the biggest celebrations take place.
Associate professor of the Department of Biostatistics at ECU, Qiang Wu explained how Chinese New Year is important in Chinese culture.
“Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday season in China. It’s like Thanksgiving and Christmas combined in the US. It’s when family reunion and friends get together happen. People take a break from the hard work of the year and enjoy some nice meals,” Wu said.
For the new year, people often wear bright new clothes to wish for good fortune and enjoy festivities and food among family and friends. Depending on the family, it could be a family reunion of sorts.
Children will usually receive red packets full of money from their parents. Banquets of food are set up. Food can range from dumplings to wontons to rice tang yuan.
Haiyong Liu, chair and professor of economics at ECU, explained the significance of the holiday why it’s important to Chinese families.
“For me, and I believe for many other Chinese Americans of the same age group, it means fond memory of childhood. More importantly, it means a celebration of a new beginning with families and friends here in Greenville, where we have an inclusive and diversified community,” Liu said.
Chinese New Year celebrations will be occurring around Greenville to honor the new year that is open to the public, according to Liu.
“There is a small Chinese community in Greenville and we usually hold a Chinese New Year celebration together with faculty, students, members from local churches, and their friends. It is a very diversified community and many local residents who are interested in Chinese/Asian culture will participate in this celebration, which includes a stage show and a big holiday meal that follows,” Liu said.
While the holiday vastly celebrated in China, many families celebrate differently. Some eat different things, and much like our holidays, they all have different family traditions. Wu explained the variety in celebrations one could see for the Chinese New Year.
“Happiest ones will be the kids. Besides some nice food and clothes, they will get new toys and some red packet money to spend in the new year. But the celebration can vary from family to family, especially for people from different ethnic groups. China is a large country with 56 ethnic groups which differ greatly in their cultures and beliefs. You can tell from the types of food they eat and the styles of the clothes they wear,” Wu said.
The holiday festivities may vary from family to family, but overall the meaning of it doesn’t change, according to Wu. The new year, much like other cultures, symbolizes a new beginning, out with the bad and in with the good.