Celebrating Chinese New Year 2022
And how Sherry is becoming a dumpling master.
And how Sherry is becoming a dumpling master.
This is kind of personal. As it’s named, the Chinese New Year (also called Lunar New Year or Spring Festival) is the most important festival in China. People get together with the entire family, have a great meal, and visit relatives and friends. What does it mean to people? Think of it as Christmas in China. In the past 18 years, I’ve never celebrated it without my family.
However, this year was quite different. While my family and friends back home were sending wishes and posting pictures on social media, I was sitting in my psychology class learning about the functions of my brain. Isn’t that crazy??? Thankfully, in this tight-knit community at Carleton, I discovered some ways to celebrate my festival and get the feeling of home.
Generous ASIA Club Providing Asian Food
The weekend before the Chinese New Year, the Asian Students In America (ASIA) club organized a big event on campus. Traditional Asian food was provided, and students gave various performances in a Zoom meeting. My talented friends in the Acapella group performed the beautiful song “Where Has Time Gone(时间都去哪儿了)”. Though all the performances were pre-recorded, I still enjoyed watching them very much.
During Chinese New Year’s week, the lovely ASIA club also collaborated with the school’s dining service by providing recipes and supply channels. I’m not exaggerating here: the food at LDC that week was 100 times better than usual. There was braised pork belly, BBQ pork buns, dumplings, etc. Though they were not as good as the real Chinese food back home, we were satisfied enough. That week, so many Chinese students were praising LDC!
Cooking With Friends On New Year’s Eve
As a tradition, we always have a reunion dinner and stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Though my friends and I have classes the next day, we chose to preserve the tradition and celebrate it anyways. We bought various ingredients from the supermarket and grabbed some food from the dining hall. In my previous blog post I mentioned that I possessed absolutely no cooking skills. But this time, my passion for cooking was ignited. How could you not feel joyous seeing the dumplings sizzling in the pot with steams coming out when the lid was lifted? To have a decent life in a foreign land, I had to acquire some cooking skills.
After our hard work for hours, the table was served with plentiful dishes—two large plates of dumplings, roasted chicken and pork, and homemade hotpot—which brought us a great sense of fulfillment and contentment. We sat together, enjoying the food and celebrating the New Year. After finishing the dishes, we all called our family and friends to send our best wishes and share the happy ambiance.
Dumpling Festival Brought By Chinese Club
As a member of the Chinese Club, we started planning for the Dumpling Festival a month earlier. We bought over 40 bags of frozen dumplings from the Chinese restaurant in town. Due to COVID, we were not able to cook dumplings. Instead, we put them in small bags that included tutorials on how to cook them. To make the event educational, we also demonstrated two Chinese traditions of calligraphy and paper cutting. After spending a few minutes doing the event, students could get a bag of free dumplings. I was helping at the table at Sayles café that day, and I was sincerely glad to see so many students participating in the activities and actually enjoying them.
A Small Surprise
I remember that one week before the Chinese New Year, I happened to be discussing cultural traditions with my classmates in French class. I casually complained to them that there was barely any festival mood on campus. The conversations didn’t go into details, and I thought no one in that class cared about it.
However, on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, I received an email from my French professor Cathy.
I was so surprised and flattered when I received this email. While few people on campus are familiar with this festival, Cathy was willing to learn about my culture and share the happiness with me. She is one of the smartest and most caring professors I’ve met. I love talking with her because I feel like I can always learn something from her, beyond the French language. Moreover, some of my friends in my French class sent simple texts of “Happy New Year.” That’s how French became my favorite class for winter term.
Honestly, my initial plan for Chinese New Year was to have a big dinner in some fancy restaurant. But cooking by ourselves, which seemed tiring and boring, turned out to be the better way of celebrating this festival (not because all restaurants in Northfield were closed that day :)). No matter what community you belong to or what minority groups you are in, you can always find ways to connect with other people and have a sense of belonging here. I look forward to celebrating festivals again next time, and I will remember to order some authentic ingredients earlier before the festival, instead of rushing for them two days before.
Sherry is a first-year student from Hangzhou, China, and holds a real passion for travel and food. She is thinking about majoring in Mathematics, but would also like to explore more in Economics, Computer Science, English, and French. Things she likes to do in her free time include hanging out with friends, taking photos, writing random stuff, and finding the funny in everyday life. She also got started with alpine skiing and is always ready for the trip to Welch Village every Friday! Meet the other bloggers!