By: Gloria Liu, Staff Writer
Last Friday, with the Chinese Year of the Goat coming soon, Greater China Club held a Chinese New Year party for Thunderbird students and families who were interested to experience the traditional Chinese way of welcoming a new year. Around 60 people showed up at the party. They enjoyed Chinese food (American Chinese food, to be exact), made authentic dumplings themselves, played poker games, and of course greeted to each other with “新年快乐” (Happy New Year!).
It is the Year of the Goat in 2015, according to the Chinese ranking of the 12 animals that symbolize each year. Unlike the western calendar, a new year for the Chinese does not begin on January 1, but from around middle February where the lunar calendar starts. Celebrating the Spring Festival is such a big thing for Chinese that each year millions of people would migrate thousands of miles back home to reunion with their families. For those who are unable to go home, they will try to spend the most important festival with their friends, gaining warmth and a sense of belonging. This is why Greater China Club, together with Taiwan Club, decided to throw a party for all Chinese students, Taiwanese students, and all who want to spend a meaningful evening with each other, or simply to enjoy delicious food and have some fun before Valentine’s Day.
Eating dumplings, or jiaozi in Chinese, is a long celebrated tradition for the Spring Festival. Dumpling looks like yuanbao, ancient Chinese money, so to eat dumplings is to have big fortune in a new year. Apart from the outer appearance, Chinese people eat dumplings for the various stuffing inside as well. Typically, besides meat, they will stuff ingredients like sweet peanuts, which symbolize happiness in the coming year. At the party, the Chinese added some chive as stuffing, with the hope of embracing a booming career next year. For the sake of all this good symbolism, making dumplings becomes a must. Under the assistance of a few Chinese, Kim from South Korea, Brendon from the U.S., Robert from Canada, and many other non-Chinese students and families made some dumplings themselves.
The party lasted for two hours. Albeit the short time, everyone enjoyed the food, experienced the hospitality of Greater China Club and Taiwan Club, and last but not least, welcomed the Year of the Goat! So Thunderbird, 羊年快乐！(Happy the Year of the Goat!)