One thing that was particularly interesting for me when I arrived in Manchester was to find a large Chinese community here, making a bulk of the international student body. No wonder why Manchester boasts a lovely China Town in the very heart of the city. And this means a lot to the students who are away from home when there comes a time of celebration and festive.
Yes, the New Year was on 1st January and everyone knows about it. But, the Chinese New Year on the 8th of February was celebrated in the Manchester from 4th February to 8th February. The Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival, considered the most important event of the year in China and is usually celebrated over days. Ben is a student of International Politics and is a member of the Chinese society. He shares his thoughts and what he did this year.
“I usually stay with family, eating dumplings, designing paper-cuts, and pasting the character ‘Fu’ (which is symbolic of good fortune and happiness), writing greeting cards, playing fireworks, visiting friends and relatives, watching dragon dances, visiting temple fairs, and enjoying colourful lanterns. ” ~ Ben (Xiaohan Luan)
Chinese lanterns hung in the city centre wish the city dwellers a great year ahead.
Ben celebrated this New Year with The Chinese Society, which organized the Spring Festival evening party in Dancehouse. Many people, who enjoyed the traditional Chinese singing, dancing and performance by artists, attended the event. The lantern shows in China Town and Albert Square, and the dragon dancing on the 8th of Feb was the most fascinating.
“This is the first time I spent the Chinese New Year outside of my country,” says Jia Sun.
Jia is an MSc student at the Renewable Energy and Clean Technology program at the University of Manchester. On one of the days of the New Year Festival, she was amazed by the fact that many local and international people showed great enthusiasm and the same fervour she expected from a Chinese.
“Even the dragon was danced by foreigners (who were not Chinese).” ~ Jia
I came to know the Chinese culture more closely when I attended an event hosted by the Chinese Society at Manchester Academy in Oct 2015. There were lots of exciting activities from playing Mahjong to eating fresh dumplings, listening to traditional music of the melodious flute, buying beautiful Chinese knots and hand fans for home decoration, and calligraphy in black ink. And this February, for me, the Chinese New Year was a unique experience to share and a great memory to cherish.
I must say that there is a lot that one can learn from other people and their culture, and Chinese culture and festivals offer a great chance to admire the beauty of Chinese way of life for anyone who happens to be in Manchester.