Chinese New Year

Red is the color of my memory about the Spring Festival because it summarizes my feelings of the old times in my home city of Beijing.

Beijing is an ancient city, the roots of many families have been grounded there for generations. If you ask “Beijingers” why they don’t want to move, they will answer you, “There is no better place than this city.” They are proud to live there. The accent, food and even the way of eating certain foods all carry pieces of this pride. I think there is also a deeper reason for it. It is the sense of family and community. We believe that there is nothing outside worth the cost of leaving family, friends and the city.

Family and community is the foundation for people in Beijing. It is also the theme of my family’s Spring Festival. A week before the Spring Festival, you will be able to hear the beginning whispers of it. I grew up with my grandparents, I still remember my grandpa answering phone calls from students he had taught thirty years before. At that time, I often found it funny that my grandpa still calls them his students, because most of them had already retired. However, when I really think about it, there is no better way to describe their relationship. Time flows like a river, but they are still connected; teacher and students. I think maybe that is a part of the meaning of Spring Festival. It reminds Chinese people there are things that should not be washed away by time.

The eve of the Spring Festival is the night to be with family. It is a night of fireworks, the national television’s gala show, amazing food, and laughter. Although my cousin and I always fought with each other, now we really miss the time we spent together. The whole family will be together no matter how tough the past year was. It is a new beginning for everybody and everything. Everyone will dress in red and every room will have red decorations because we believe red will bring you happiness and joy. I really feel the color red lits up a fire in everyone’s heart. It is not a scary wildfire, but a bonfire that brings passion and warmth. There are many traditional activities we have to do, like flipping a pancake and making good wishes to the elder family members.

My personal favorite is receiving the red envelope. They are given to the youngest generation of the family and usually contain quite a bit of money, it is a symbol of good wishes. Although it sounds like a good “profiting” opportunity for kids, it usually ends up as an exchange of bills between parents, because they always match each other’s envelopes. To be honest, I have never received it because my mom always kept it, telling me she will save it for me. All of those activities don’t seem to make sense sometimes, but it does give us a hope to keep going.

The fireworks at midnight are the highlight of the Spring Festival. The fireworks make Beijing sound like a battlefield, but it is fun when you enjoy them with your families. Although I am a guy, I am not very brave when it comes to fireworks. I remember it was always my aunt that would light the fuse. She would always encourage me to do it, but it was just too scary for me. Because some of the fireworks are pretty serious. The sounds of explosion are frightening, but when the colorful lights take over the sky it always brings joy to my heart.

I think Spring Festival is an anchor of life for many Chinese, it helps them to slow down and review the precious relationships of life.


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