Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival, is a celebration that affects the lives of millions of people worldwide. It is a time when people gather together to appreciate one of the world’s richest and most historic cultures. So what exactly is Spring Festival? Why is it significant and how is it celebrated?
The holiday is dependent upon the lunisolar Chinese calendar. Because of this, the date varies slightly every year. In 2017, the festival began on the eve of the New Year, Jan. 27, and will continue until Feb. 15.
One celebration in particular took place at St. Clair Shores public schools, on Jan. 27, where a number of exchange students gathered to partake in holiday activities. The event embodied many important aspects of the Spring Festival.
The celebration was held inside the school dorms. The building where exchange students live was transformed into a beautiful celebration hall filled with authentic food, a plethora of holiday decorations, and various performances put on by the exchange students. Performances included singing, dancing and comedy. The building was adorned with the color red in the form of red lanterns, red paper decorations, red signs, and more.
One young man explained the significance of the color red in Chinese culture. He said that an ancient Chinese legend told the story of a man-eating monster called Nian. Nian only came out to eat people on New Year’s Eve. Eventually, the people discovered that Nian was afraid of loud noises and the color red, so they hung red lanterns and ornaments and lit fireworks every New Year’s Eve to scare him away. The tradition of hanging red decorations and lighting fireworks on New Year’s Eve is still an important part of Chinese culture today.
All throughout the night, the students performed act after act. Each one was unique. The performances included a violin/piano duet, many beautiful dance routines ranging from more traditional to modern styles, a number of vocal performances – including one from a former Chinese opera singer, and a violin/drum/guitar trio. The night was concluded with a few choir arrangements of traditional Chinese songs sung by all of the students and staff.