Happy Chinese New Year

by Tianqi Dong on 17 February 2016

Cavendish ChoraleOn 6 Feb, 2016, the Cavendish Chorale performed at Cambridge Chinese New Year Gala at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. The theme of this Cambridge Chinese New Year Gala was The Golden Era, a term cited by Prime Minister David Cameron on the relationship between China and Britain during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. We performed 'Birch Forest' a love story based on Russian lovers separated because of the War. This song appreciates pure love and remembers the cruelty of war.

2016 is year of the Monkey. The monkey is a clever animal. There is a well-known key character, Monkey King, in one of the four classics in Chinese Literature - Journey to the West. The animal is bestowed with an auspicious meaning for its same pronunciation of ‘Hou’, the title of marquis. Lucy Cavendish is one of the most international colleges at Cambridge. I’ve got a great chance to learn and understand different cultures and traditions. Here I share some of our New Year traditions.

Chinese New Year celebrations last 16 days, from the New Year Eve to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the lunar calendar's first month. Every family will get together to have a reunion dinner. Most Chinese students and families abroad will bring friends together to celebrate, either cooking together or eating outside. The traditional food for the reunion dinner includes hot pot, fish, roast duck and dumplings. Most families have their own dinner menu, for example, vegetarian families will have Buddha’s delight.

Tianqi Dong Despite the meaningful good fortune food for New Year, we burn fireworks to drive away evil spirits and receive red envelopes, with money inside, from older people. Due to technology, red envelopes have recently changed into an online money transfer system through Wechat, a social software in China. Watching the New Year Spring Festival Gala is also a traditional celebration. One of my favourite programmes is In Your Great Arms, where 55 ethnic minorities perform their ethnic dance and songs. Respect and inclusion are very significant in either a community or a country. Here, at Lucy Cavendish, I feel the same respect and inclusion as an international student. Students and staff are very nice and supportive.

When the fireworks are shot in the air, we make New Year wishes. I wish this year, I could be more productive on my PhD research and more active in social activities. At the same time, I will consider my future career plan and prepare myself for it. Since our College just celebrated its 50th anniversary, I also wish for it to continue building a world reputation and to impact on improving women's education and rights in the coming years. I hope I can grow with our College, and give back to this splendid place with the same spirit and care that have nurtured me. 

And last but not least, happy Chinese New Year to all at Lucy Cavendish. I wish you all the best for the future!

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