International students talk to Resource about the latest news from home. This week: the Chinese year of the snake started on February 10th.
Commenting on the news: Zhuobiao Ni, Yuan He and Xiao Chen, master students in Wageningen
Zhuobiao: 'New year's celebration is the biggest holiday of the year. We get seven days off and celebrate it with our family. The main event in my family used to be a big national TV show, with singing and dancing, comedy and magic shows. I like the part where they make jokes about the past year. This time they were about government servants who used public money to pay for expensive dinners. And about all the babies that were born in the dragon year. It is the luckiest Chinese year, so these parents planned it well.'
Yuan: 'Eight million people moved out of Beijing; the city is almost empty now. There were 20 people in the South who couldn't get a train ticket, so they drove 2000 kilometres on motorcycles to their family in the mountains. That was a big story on the news.'
Zhuobiao: 'One of my favourite traditions was getting the red envelope as a kid. It's called Ya Sui Qian; the best translation is good luck money. It is used to buy things but symbolically also to keep devils away. Now that I got married I have to give an envelope away to a younger person.'
Xiao: 'In the past this was the most important celebration, because we would get new clothes and good food. But now we can buy clothes every day and we have plenty of food on the table. Consumption has a different meaning nowadays. What remains is to share time and traditions with our family.'