Fanfare and Fireworks | How Students Celebrate the Year of the Ox


By George Zhang, Staff Reporter

The popping sound of firecrackers and the delicious aroma of traditional Chinese cuisine is usually a tell-tale sign that Chinese New Year is coming.

Landing on Feb. 12 this year, Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays in China and a time for families to get together and celebrate. Freshman Alex Jiang believes that Chinese New Year is an opportunity to spend time with friends and family.

“I feel like in Chinese New Year compared to (Jan. 1 New Year), there’s a greater emphasis on family and appreciation for your family members. That’s kind of the basis of Chinese New Year — it’s appreciation for the people who are taking care of you,” Jiang said.

Conestoga has a large population of students who celebrate this traditional Chinese holiday in many different ways. Senior Gloria Geng celebrates Chinese New Year by calling her grandparents back in China and doing other activities with her family, from making dumplings from scratch to buying new shoes.

“You always have new shoes to wear. There’s a Chinese saying that goes ‘Chuan xin xie zi zou xin lu,’ which translates to ‘you walk your new shoes to walk a new path for the new year.’ I also get money under my pillow,” Geng said.

Sophomore Aaron Sun, enjoys watching the Spring Festival Gala, a four-hour-long show that is aired during Chinese New Year, with his family while giving out red envelopes filled with money and eating traditional foods like dumplings, noodles and rice cakes. It features many performances relating to Chinese culture, including singing, dancing and comedy. Drawing in hundreds of millions of viewers each year, the Spring Festival Gala is one of the most-watched shows in the world.

“We watched (The Spring Festival Gala) and it shows a lot about our culture. It has a lot of traditional dances, it has some comedy shows too and there’s a lot of famous actors that join in. I like it because it reminds me of China because I don’t get to visit there often,” Sun said.

On the other hand, sophomore Jeslyn Wu celebrates Chinese New Year by reenacting the Gala with her friends and family.

“In China, there’s this gala show for Chinese New Years and when we celebrate Chinese New Year with friends and family. Kids our age would imitate that and put on our own show and perform for the parents,” Wu said.

There are also some students that celebrated this holiday back in China. Senior Jason Guan enjoys receiving red envelopes and spending time with his uncle. He also enjoys celebrating in China more than the US because most of his family is there.

“I remember there was one year where my uncle and I went downstairs after the rest of my family slept. We played fireworks for a long time and I really enjoyed it because I don’t see my uncle too often now since he lives in China. It was a good memory I had with him.” Guan said.

Geng prefers Chinese New Year over other holidays because it allows her to connect with her roots.

“I really like (Chinese New Year) because it reminds me of my heritage, which I feel like is something that isn’t as emphasized, especially in the United States,” Geng said. “As with most holidays, Chinese New Year celebrates something culturally special. I celebrate Chinese New Years because it lets me embrace the Chinese part of me that’s not usually celebrated.”