Chinese dumplings, red lanterns and the Year of the Pig

After relaxing Christmas holidays and ending the first semester with January exams, I'm now back to uni and its everyday rush. Weekly Chinese tests and essays are common and they serve as a preparation for our year abroad, which is approaching unbelievably fast. Because I’m studying two languages, I have the opportunity to divide my next year into two parts (half a year in China and half a year in a Spanish speaking country). Our visa only enables us to study in China, thus all the students had already been assigned to a certain university and are about to start filling in all the application forms. Due to the level of our Spanish being higher, we could have chosen whether we want to study at a partner university or undergo a work placement in Spain or Latin America. I chose to find an internship, therefore I am now in the stage of sending out my CV and hoping to get accepted.

We organized a World Food Night as a part of our Peer Mentoring scheme and managed to get many language societies on board. Each society brought either homemade or store-bought food that is relevant to their country. The turnout was bigger than we anticipated and it was overall a very successful event as we ended up with food from, for example, China, Spain, Germany, Japan, France or Italy.

I got used to the fact that winter in Manchester is not all that great and unlike in the Czech Republic, it does not snow here at all. However, this year has been surprisingly (pleasantly) warm and the weather is probably the best it has ever been. It's about 15°C and the university campus is blooming in colors. My friends and I went to celebrate the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, and although it was only the beginning of February, it really felt like it's springtime already. Not only China Town, but the entire city of Manchester was filled with red lanterns hanging on every tree, dragon decorations or a big statue of a pig. Street markets selling Chinese dumplings, various calligraphy lessons or Taiji performances were all on the program and everything culminated in a grand firework show.

Interesting facts about the Chinese New Year:

1. Chinese people always eat fish during their New Year's Eve Dinner. The pronunciation of fish [yú] is the same as an (economic) surplus [yú].
Hence, have fish = have a surplus.

2. Number 8 is a favorite number amongst the Chinese. Its pronunciation [bā] is similar to [fā], which means 'to get rich'. For this reason, Chinese people want to have the number 8 in their phone number, car plate or even a flat number.

3. Showering isn’t allowed during New Year’s Day. Sweeping and throwing out garbage isn’t allowed before the 5th. This is to make sure you don’t wash away the good luck.

More blog articles

All news