Dragon Year

The celebrations were not just about the Dragon dance as that was central to the New Year but also about the different activities that took place.

The games was a way for the Chinese students to interact with none natives. None Chinese students trying to read sentences in Mandarin was nothing but hilarious. Some just got tongue tied.

Others just changed the meaning of all they read without even realising. Chinese as you might know is the tonal language and therefore the sound of the word determines the meaning.

Red lantern


Business Admin students, Aijia and Jingya Liu telling the audience about their experiences in Coventry.

Carrying a ping pong ball from one end of the room to the other with a chop stick.


                                                                                                                                                       Chinese Akon giving a rendition.

                                                                                                                                                              All you can eat gala









Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Chinese Dumpling(Jiao Zi)

2012 is the year of the Dragon. In the Chinese lunar calendar this will be the 4709th year. Food is an intergral part of the 15days long celebration. Friends and family gather on this very important occasion to enjoy many dishes that are known to represent good luck and abundance. This association with food is found in either their name or their shape.

Foods that are symbolic of good luck and often eaten during Chinese New Year include:

Dumplings a.ka. Jiao zi: Chinese dumpling or Jiao zi is the staple course on the Eve of the Chinese spring festival and it is considered superior amongst the foods eaten. They are considered lucky to eat during the holidays because the first banknote of China is called Jiao zi

In the north where wheat is the main crop grown, Jiao zi is made from wheat and in the southern regions where rice is the staple food house wives make recipes of sticky rice flour balls. There is no set recipe for Jiao zi filling. The filling can be anything from vegetable, meat, egg to seafood.

Noodles: Noodles represents longevity therefore it is not broken into chucks before cooking. An old superstition also says that it is bad luck to cut them. This is a holiday where you have an excuse to slurp and make a mess on those long noodles. The noodles are prepared with soup or stir fried.

Spring rolls: Spring rolls have a shape similar to gold bars and it is eaten during the spring festival to symbolise wealth and good fortune.

Fish: The Chinese word for fish is “Yu”. This is a homophone for ‘wish’ and ‘abundance’. The steamed fish is served whole, with the head and tail together symbolising a good beginning and ending of the coming year.

Tangerines and oranges: During the Chinese New Year, tangerines and orange are freely shared.  The words for tangerine and orange sounds like luck and wealth and this symbolises abundance.

The Chinese new year is a chance to leave the disputes and bad situation of the previous year behind and start the new year afresh, hence the cleaning up of the their houses and buying of new clothes.

From the association the Chinese makes with food and the various things around them, it is clear that Wealth and abundance is an extensive part of their culture. The red envelopes (Hong bao) give to children and unmarried adults also contains money

Xin nian kuai le is to say Happy New year in Chinese Mandarin but also a very popular and definite wish around the spring festival is Gong Xi Fa Cai. This is a congratutions and prosperity wish but literally means ‘make a lot of money’.

To all my readers, Xin Nian Kuai Le and Gong Xi fa Cai!

The Dragon comes to Coventry

The year of the Dragon starts today as Chinese all over the world celebrates New Year 2012.

As part of one world week, Coventry University Culturae Mundi celebrates Chinese New Year, the year of the Dragon.

The programme took place at the Hub from 3pm till 8pm this evening.

The sweet sound of the orient, the pounding of the Chinese traditional drums and the dance of the Dragon was a spectacular sight to behold. This Dragon dance was immediately followed by TaiChi, a dance that is very prominent in China because of its health benefits.

The Chinese New Year is the most important day for the Chinese and in China; it is a celebration that lasts for 15 days.

In Chinese mythology, the dragon is very special and revered. Unlike in the western world where the dragon represents fierce creatures that are slain by knights, for the Chinese the dragon is a symbol of power, superiority, strength, and good luck. It is also believed that those born on this year are powerful and ambitious.

These were what some student had to say when ask what the celebration means to them.

Aijia a second year business administration student say: “The celebration has given me the chance to know more people and also to see how the world outside China celebrates our New Year”.

Jingya Liu also known as Grace says: “This occasion is special for me as I never imagined the university will hold such a gala for the Chinese students.”

Sunny a third year Journalism and Media student say: “I feel a sense of warmth. Even though, I am a foreigner, Coventry University recognises what this celebration means to us. I really miss my parents”.

The celebration carries on from 9pm tomorrow up until the wee hours of 2am.

Xin Nian Kuai Le! That’s Happy New Year in Chinese.

Picture: Kind courtesy of Diana Stefanescu