Valentina Gomes dos Santos tells us about the Lunar New Year celebrations on campus
On the 5thof February, Chinese culture and tradition celebrated the beginning of a new year. Chinese New Year celebrations, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, start on the 23rdday of the 12thlunar month of the Chinese calendar. This festival lasts for about 23 days, ending on the 15thday of the first lunar month in the following year in the Chinese calendar.Known as the year of the pig, following the Chinese zodiac signs, the year of 4717 will be highly associated with good fortune.
For many Chinese students, it may be hard to be so far away from home at this time of the year. Missing their families, friends, food and celebrations, students usually find their way out and assemble to cook New Year’s Eve dinners and feel a bit closer to where they come from. However, here at the University of Essex, the International Students’ Association (ISA) together with the Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian and Bruneian societies, celebrated the new year at the Squares in a proper traditional style. With food, Chinese calligraphy workshop, traditional music, conventional clothing and even a dragon dance, all students, Chinese or not, gathered to commemorate. On the 6th, ISA also went down to the Southend Campus and organised a lantern decoration workshop for students.
The importance of the event lies on embracing the diversity on campus. It was an incredible opportunity to have other students learning about Chinese culture, as well as making Chinese students feel understood. I, for example, have no connection with Chinese tradition, however, being part of such celebration taught me a lot about this culture that once felt extremely far away and disconnected from me. On the other hand, 3rdyear student Kah Mun, who is also part of ISA says that the celebration made her feel at home “ISA did a great job with the SU on hosting the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration for the students in Colchester and Southend campus. Although I can’t celebrate Chinese New Year with my family, I can proudly say that I’ve had celebrate it with my ISA family. It was my pleasure to share such meaningful celebration with them.”
I hope you all have had a great start to the Year of the Pig, and that it shall bring you many good fortunes in the upcoming year.