News - February 9, 2011

NIAN in Sweden

This Chinese New Year is my first time which I can't celebrate with my parents and friends.

The objects with New-Year style I saw during the journey: the trees, special food and couplets!
NIAN means 'year' in Chinese. Just as in Dutch eyes Sinterklaas is more important than Christmas, Chinese people might take Jan 1 st only as some dispensable appetizer. What we long for after one year's hard-working, is a ticket back home for a family reunion on the eve of Chinese New Year. That's also why CHUNYUN (Spring Festival Traffic Peak) is regarded as the most majestic annual human migration in the world.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get that ticket home since I'm studying in Europe. Thanks to the re-exam week, I got nine days off so that I could go to Sweden and celebrate the NIAN with my good friend Asum in Stockholm. Throughout the journey I kept trying to sniff out some scent of NIAN in this land of Vikings. In Kiruna, an iron-mine city that lies in the north if Sweden, I not only luckily witnessed the aurora but also a beautiful tree with lots of red balls hanging in it. The auspicious RED is Chinese' most popular color as it stands for good fortune and prosperity. Seeing that tree combined with the snowy world as a background, I couldn't help but miss the peach blossoms at home. Bitter-sweet homesickness. As a coincidence, I encountered a Dutch young couple in the hostel. They moved to Hong Kong last August at the same time I came to Holland. Just like it should be, my Dutch is far better than their Cantonese. No bragging, just call a spade a spade.
On the Eve of Chinese New Year, I should have been at the family dinner instead of being trapped in the train back to Stockholm. Receiving SMS from my friends in China was the only comfort that night. Thanks my buddies.
The train arrived in Stockholm Central the next morning when it was the afternoon of NIAN in Beijing. Life was better again because I could embrace Internet. Via Asum's laptop I made calls to my parents, my friends. It was a big surprise to them. (Hey Asum, hope you can see this blog and my gratitude for all your help. ^_^) Laughter was commuted through the cable; distance never is an excuse for missing any chance to express our love and happiness. What's more, among the happy laughter and the cheerful phone calls, I realized NIAN could be celebrated everywhere; NIAN is always carried with us in our Chinese hearts.
Wish all of you have a successful and prosperous year of rabbit! The God of Fortune will bless us through 2011!

The video of the week:
This is Chinese 'Sinterklaas', but he's called the God of Fortune, and the lions replace of the reindeers.