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Chinese Club中文俱乐部

Dr. Gao, Rachel Burns, I and other students are interested in setting up a Chinese club on campus! We are so excited about all kind of activities that we plan to do in the Chinese club. We have came up with many interesting ideas, such as celebrating Chinese traditional festivals, cooking Chinese food on our own, watching Chinese movies, making T-shirts with Chinese characters on them, inviting local Chinese people to visit us and etc .

We hope more Transy students join us and learn more about the wonderful Chinese culture! In this blog, I will share an interesting legend about our biggest festival, the Spring Festival 年 [nián].

Spring Festival is the first day of the first lunar month each year. We call the Spring Festival “Nian”. This festive “Nian” was once the name of a violent flesh-eating predatory monster. According to the legend, “Nian” was an enormous, ferocious, violent, and single-horned wild beast, with sharp teeth and a long, powerful tail. It destroyed all-important cereal crops, and swallowed whole people and other living creatures alive. So everybody came to be in a state of fear and great anxiety as their lives could all be in danger. Many people chose to hide as a way to escape this menacing beast, and try to avoid suffering disaster.

The monster always came on the last day of the year, at nightfall, to seek and destroy. The village people later found out that “Nian” was greatly afraid of red color and the cracking sound of bamboo. The villagers then built a huge fire, with blazing, sparking, firewood when “Nian” appeared again. “Nian” was really afraid and took off like a shot.

Once the menacing enemy of the villagers had gone, the villagers went back to their homes, put on their best clothes, and made sacrificial offerings. They kowtowed and bid obedience to the gods for averting disaster, and restoring peace to the community. After that, people put up red lanterns, stick couplet on doorframe, set off fireworks and have a big dinner on New Year’s Eve. In the next morning people greet each other happily. The custom of celebrating the Spring Festival continues to this day.

Please come and join us to enjoy the brilliant Chinese culture!!! Let’s 学中文!

Wishes Flying!

Tonight around forty Transy students gathered together and celebrated the Chinese New Year by lighting Chinese sky lanterns in front of Old Morrison.

Chinese sky lanterns are also known as Kongming lanterns or Wish lanterns. They are made from oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame, with a fuel cell at the bottom of the lantern.

As the name suggests, this type of lanterns is designed to fly into the sky, carrying people’s good wishes. It is said that the sky lantern was invented by the Chinese sage and strategist in the Three Kingdom Period, Zhuge Liang, and served as spy blimps in wars. Later on, sky lanterns became popular among children during festivals, such as the Chinese Spring Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. Sky lanterns gradually won popularity throughout countries in Asia and became a must for celebration. Nowadays, people write their wishes on lanterns and release them into the air after lighting them, in hopes of sending their wishes to the heavenly world.

We first were divided into groups of three or four, with each group having a Chinese lantern. We then wrote down our wishes on the lantern. I cannot tell you what I wrote on the lantern, because my wish won’t come true if I tell you what it is. Sorry… haha… Many groups went ahead of us and absolutely loved seeing their lanterns flying into the sky. My group was the last one who got to release the lantern because I was too distracted by seeing other lanterns flying. It was amazing to see lanterns flying into the sky, like shining stars in the vast, dark sky. I indeed LOVED this unique experience and concluded that we should have this celebration every week! Haha…

P.S. I want to send my special thanks to George Wu, Andrew Weinberger, and Junyan Fang, who putted a lot of effort into organizing this fabulous event! Thank you again, and we all loved it!

This is not a Commercial!

I went to the Panda Cuisine yesterday with my Chinese friends, and absolutely love the Chinese food there! We ordered Mapo tofu, Panda’s fish delight, Yu-shiang garlic eggplant, Pork ribs with torso and Garlic green beans. Among all dishes that we ordered, I especially enjoyed the Yu-shiang garlic eggplant and Fulin’s fish delight. Yu-shiang garlic eggplant is a spicy dish and is one of the most popular home style dishes in Sichuan province, China. The dish has a very soft taste just like marshmallow because the eggplant is cut into strips and stir-fried in the wok before serving. In addition to the taste, I love the spicy seasoning on the eggplant. Eggplant has a strong ability to absorb seasoning and thus is one of the most proper vegetables for making spicy dish. Fulin’s fish delight is my second favorite Chinese dish. It also has a very spicy taste, and the fish is boiled in the spicy soup along with vegetables such as bean sprouts and lettuce. Although the taste of the fish dish last night tasted slightly different compared to the ones back home in China, I still enjoyed the hot fish. Chinese people put much emphasis on the balance of Yin and Yang, so one usually could find meat and vegetable in a dish. All dishes last night tasted great, which reflect me and my friends’ good choices! The dishes also reminded me of the days at home. There were many Chinese students and families in Panda Cuisine. I also saw some American families dining in the restaurant. I think that Panda Cuisine and Hunan are the most authentic Chinese restaurants in town, but I will continue exploring more and keep you all posted on Chinese food!!!

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