This journal prompt was about the traditions for Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year is based on lunar calendar, which began on February 8th. Below is Taijai’s response.
My first real experience of the Chinese New Year began when my family took me to the lantern festival at the city wall in Xi’an. It was really packed, people eating, laughing, taking pictures, etc. It was a really cool experience. You could really see the pride that Chinese people have for their culture and history, because each beautiful lantern had its own story behind it.
The traditions and the customs I witnessed during last week’s Chinese New Year celebration reminded me of a really long Fourth of July weekend, minus the warmth. The reason I say this is because of the food, family, events and visitors who travel throughout China during this time. I never knew Chinese people partied like Puerto Ricans. I say this because I could hear fireworks, music, and celebration happening outside, into the late hours of the night. My host family was one of the ones to blame for that. My host father bought a big roll of fireworks; he rolled them out and lit them. He almost blew half his face off because he stayed next to the firework for too long after he lit it. Though it was a scary moment, it was really funny. This tradition actually reminded me of back in the day in America, when my uncles would light fireworks in front of my grandmother’s house on the fourth of July, and how my cousin and I would run away after he lit it each one. This moment I shared with my host family really showed me that even though we are different, we are also the same.
Overall, this trip is really opening my eyes to the many similarities that we Americans have with the Chinese. During the New Year you could physically feel the sense of nationalism that Chinese people have for their country. It was the same feeling you get, when you hear or sing the National Anthem in America. If more people were as lucky as me, to travel to a different part of the world, I think there would be less violence in the world. Yes I know I took it from zero to one hundred, real quick. But if people were able to connect with a different culture besides their own, they would be able to develop their own opinions of other people instead of just reading stuff online or believing everything they see on TV.