Celebrating Chinese New Year

New Years Day marks the beginning of the spring and the end of winter in Chinese culture. With the turn of the seasons, Chinese people from around the world reflect on the lessons learned in the previous year and celebrate the opportunities for good luck and fortune in the coming one.

This year, the new year falls on 10 February, which is the first solar term on the Chinese calendar.

In China, this is a family event. However, due to the school calendar, most Chinese students at TU Delft will not get to spend the holiday with family at home. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Civil Engineering and Geoscience student Tianduowa Zhu said, “I celebrated Chinese New Year with family all the time. So it is fresh for me, staying with friends.”

Being far from home doesn’t mean that she won’t use some traditional elements in her celebrations. “We start to decorate rooms before eve of Chinese New Year. Usually, we put couplet (‘Dui lian’) on both sides of door, and the character ‘Fu’ (means happiness) in the middle of door. We also stick Fu on the wall, mirror, or wardrobe,” she explained.

If you are interested in celebrating the holiday, or just learning more about it, there special events are scheduled for Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam between 9 February and 13 February.

Dancers and fireworks

Visitors to The Hague can join the festivities on 9 February. Chinatown will hold a special Chinese Market from 11-18:00. The market will have stands selling clothing, souvenirs, art and more. You can sample typical Asian food in the Asian Food Court. Throughout the day there will be fireworks displays, lion dancers and special guest speakers. There will be additional presentations and displays at the Stadhuis.

Amsterdam is hosting a large event as well. Most of the planned activities, including dancers and fireworks, will take place around the Nieuwmarkt square in Amsterdam’s Chinatown. However there are options for celebrating the event in a quieter setting. You can choose to visit the Fo Guang Shan He Hua Buddhist temple in Chinatown. There you can welcome the new year in a serene setting. If you are going out with a group, you might want to make dinner reservations at one of Amsterdam’s many Chinese restaurants, such as Sea Palace on Oosterdokskade.

Chinese lanterns in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is waiting until the middle of the next week to host its celebration. On 13 February the city will hold a festival near West-Kruiskade in the city center. The event will begin with at 13:00 with a welcome speech by the head of China Festivals Rotterdam and the city mayor. After that, you can wander through the shopping street and tour the 40 stands. The event ends in the nearby neighborhood park for a Chinese lantern lighting and light show. If you do not go to The Hague or Amsterdam, you can see a preview of the activities on 9 February at the Laurenskerk Plein in the center of Rotterdam. They will showcase the lion dancers at 15:00 and 16:00.

Also in Rotterdam until 14 February China Light Rotterdam at the Park near the Euromast. Over 40 Chinese artists have built more than 35 enchanting light objects, including a 100-metre-long dragon. Tickets € 15.

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