Students to ring in Year of the Tiger
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.
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.