For Americans, Christmas and the American New Year is a big time of celebration for friends and family. But for many Asian University of Nebraska at Omaha students, the Chinese New Year is a very important festival.
Chinese New Year, also referred to as the Chinese Spring Festival, will be celebrated on Jan. 28. It is an important festival for all Chinese people because on that day, most people will go back home and stay with their families.
So how do Chinese students at UNO celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival in Omaha? Junior social work and gerontology major Wenjing Cao, who is the president of the Chinese Students and Scholarships Association Organization, provided insight on local and traditional celebrations during a question and answer session.
Q: How many days does the Chinese Spring Festival last?
A: “Chinese Spring Festival is kind of long and complicated. We will have 7 days to celebrate Spring Festival in China.”
Q: Can you describe what takes place on several of the days?
A: “During the first day, we would have families come together and have dinner together. It’s kind of like Christmas in America. We also would welcome God of money to come to our houses. During midnight, we would play fireworks and make loud noises. During the seventh day, we usually have the stick rice dumpling because the circle means all families get together.”
Q: Do Chinese people wear red underwear on New Year’s?
A: Cao said yes and no. “Most young generation in China do not wear red underwear when Chinese Spring Festival comes. However, old people may wear red underwear for good luck.”
Q: How can Chinese students celebrate Chinese Spring Festival in Omaha because during the Chinese Spring Festival, they can’t go back to their hometown for the spring semester?
A: “The Nebraska Chinese Center in Omaha will hold a show in a high school in Nebraska and also welcome all the Chinese in Nebraska, including Chinese students. The first day of the Chinese Spring Festival is very important to Chinese students, so students will hang out at the parties, make a lot of food and stay up that night.”
Q: What type of activities does the Chinese students and scholarships association organization have planned for the new year?
A: “We will provide opportunities for students stay together and know each other in this year. Also, we are going to hold a gallery display in the school library this year and share more Chinese culture with more students in UNO.”