Stu­dents to ring in Year of the Tiger

Cape Breton Post - - OUR COMMUNITY - gm­c­neil@cb­post.com BY GREG MCNEIL

SYD­NEY — Thou­sands of kilo­me­tres from their home, Chi­nese stu­dents will bring in the Chi­nese New Year with a roar at Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity.

Sun­day’s new moon marks the beginning of the Year of the Tiger, China’s largest an­nual cel­e­bra­tion.

Red dec­o­ra­tions will grace CBU’s Pitt Lounge and tra­di­tional food will be shared amongst 175 stu­dents and in­vited guests.

It’s not like be­ing at home, but the Chi­nese So­ci­ety at CBU is work­ing to make the event as au­then­tic as pos­si­ble.

“It is very good we can cel­e­brate to­gether,” said Ye Tian, who hasn’t been in China to cel­e­brate for eight years.

“In the beginning be­ing away was dif­fi­cult, but not now. I’ve been in Canada two years, but I stud­ied in Europe while in high school.”

Cel­e­brat­ing in Canada has also be­come the norm for Haifeng Wang, who first ob­tained an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree at CBU and is now work­ing on his mas­ters.

“I haven’t been with my fam­ily for the fes­ti­val for three years,” he said.

To make Wang, Tian and other Chi­nese stu­dents feel at home, dumplings and other tra­di­tional Chi­nese dishes will be served at Sun­day’s CBU event.

The night will also in­clude en­ter­tain­ment and games.

Back in China, they said, cel­e­bra­tions tend to vary slightly across the re­gions. “I come from the city, so my fam­ily would have the early din­ner around five o’clock at a restau­rant and then back home to watch the cel­e­bra­tion on TV,” Tian said.

While watch­ing the cel­e­bra­tions her fam­ily would make dumplings and then eat them around mid­night.

“ Tian will eat in restau­rants with her fam­ily, but where I come from we eat at home,” said Wang, who grew up in a ru­ral area.

“ We make din­ner by our­selves at a big ta­ble with lots of dishes. The dumplings are eaten in the morn­ing.”

The colour red is com­monly seen dur­ing all cel­e­bra­tions.

Wang, who re­cently did a pa­per on the event, said the prac­tice traces back to an­cient times.

“A very long time ago there was a mon­ster or beast and ev­ery first day of the year this mon­ster will come to ev­ery fam­ily to de­vour the chil­dren and spe­cial peo­ple.”

He said peo­ple feared the mon­ster, un­til they no­ticed the beast was afraid of chil­dren who were wear­ing red clothes.

“Peo­ple re­al­ized you have to use red things to scare the mon­ster. Af­ter that time peo­ple would hang red items on the door and in win­dows.” Red fire crack­ers are also used. An­other com­mon prac­tice sur­rounds the cel­e­bra­tions shown on TV. The same feed is of­ten viewed across the coun­try.

“It’s tra­di­tional for ev­ery­body to watch,” said Tian.

“Even now I’m in a for­eign coun­try I will still watch. We’ll have a cel­e­bra­tion party Sun­day morn­ing at 7 a.m. here.”

The of­fi­cial CBU fes­tiv­i­ties be­gin around 6 p.m.

Greg McNeil - Cape Bre­ton Post

A Chi­nese New Year cel­e­bra­tion will take place Sun­day at Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity. Mike Reppa, an in­ter­na­tional stu­dent ad­viser, stu­dents Ye Tian and Haifeng Wang, and in­ter­na­tional stu­dent ad­viser Elaine De­laney are shown hav­ing some fun with some of the dec­o­ra­tions that will hang in the Pitt Lounge, the host site for the event.

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