Student - February 17, 2010

Chinese New Year in Forum

A nice meal, some TV comedy, and good wishes all round: that is how the Chinese New Year celebrations started on Saturday 13 February at five in the afternoon.

Chinese New Year celebrations in Forum
Although there were no fireworks or champagne, the rest of the evening differed little from the cheery Dutch New Year. About 100 Chinese and a few Korean students watched the Chinese television channel CTV1 on a big screen in the foyer. A comic opera was broken up by adverts for microwave meals and soft drinks. 'My parents are watching the same show right now', says Gao Min Min, a Wageningen University student of landscape architecture. It is his first New Year celebration in Wageningen. 'I do miss my family; it does feel different. My mother's traditional snacks are tastier, and you can't flop on the sofa here.'

Homesick
Marco Zhang, a student of international agriculture at Van Hall Larenstein (VHL) is anything but homesick. He laughs his head off at the TV jokes about the daily grind: 'This feels just like home.' It is not unlike New Year's Eve in the Netherlands - watching TV and snacking. But VHL student Daniel Xiaw Chen says it is 'totally different'. 'A pub crawl, for example, is something we would never do.' There are hardly any European students around, except the occasional person who looks on from the sidelines. 'I just wanted to have a look at what was going on, but for the time being there is not much happening', says Rishi Kinreja from Germany. Ke Lin thinks it is a real pity that there are so few European students. 'There is so much prejudice about our country. A lot has changed over recent years, and we would like to show what our country is like now. That is why we chose the forum as a venue for our New Year celebration too.'
Year of the Tiger
The Chinese New Year is generally celebrated on the second new moon after the shortest day of the year. Only if this falls on 21 January is the third new moon chosen. The starting time for the New Year varies with the region of China. Five o'clock Dutch time was picked here in Wageningen. Each year relates to an animal in a twelve year cycle. This year is the year of the Tiger, an optimistic and powerful animal, as K shows on the calendar. 'That calendar is already 5000 years old, and its predictions can really come true. But if you do not believe in it, forget it'.

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