On the occasion of the Chinese New Year, AMADEUS International School Vienna sends everyone blessings from afar, wishing you a lot of fortune and happiness, a healthy and prosperous new year ahead!
To celebrate, our boarding community organised a New Year event for the boarding students, which especially meant a lot for those students who cannot spend the holiday with their family. We have invited our Grade 12 student, Angela, to tell us more about the Chinese New Year and the AMADEUS event.
The 2021 Chinese New Year – the year of the Ox
The Spring Festival celebrates the beginning of a new year in the Chinese Calendar. This is done with various rituals and traditions, and it is an important time of the year that you look very much forward to in China and in Chinese communities around the world.
Unlike the western New Year, the Chinese New Year takes place at different dates every year, but it usually starts at the end of January or the beginning of February and lasts for 15 days. This year, the festival began on 11 February.
The Chinese New year follows the zodiac, which is a repeating cycle of 12 years. Each year is represented by an animal, and 2021 is the year of the Ox. In Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal due to its role in agriculture and its positive characteristics. It is known as being hardworking, honest, and a great leader who is able to think logically. Men who are born the Ox year are thought to be reliable and trustworthy, and women to be calm and gentle (chinesenewyear.net). Maybe some of you were born in an Ox year?
The Dumplings session surprised and touched me
To celebrate, the school organised various Chinese New Year traditions for the boarding community, such as writing couplets, making crafts, and cooking dumplings.
On the day of the event, a group of boarding students volunteered to help with the setups. I joined a group in preparing the fillings for dumplings, and some other student volunteers helped to prepare the craft materials.
Our Chinese teacher first demonstrated how to make traditional and authentic Chinese dumplings. My Hungarian friend found it difficult at first, but eventually, she became more proficient. Some of the Russian students made the dumplings Russian style which, to my surprise, is the same as Shanghai ravioli. I think it is fascinating how we share some similarities among different cultures.
We made three different kinds of fillings, and almost everyone thought that the dumplings tasted surprisingly good. One of the Japanese students proudly reported that he had eaten 31 of them! Seeing many foreign students enjoy this traditional Chinese activity made me feel very happy and grateful.
Traditional Chinese handcrafting – difficult but fun!
After the meal, we started to do crafts. Some students made red lanterns, while others tried to write spring couplets and blessings. Everyone chatted and had fun. Our Chinese teacher told us the origin of the Chinese Zodiacs and the legend of Lunar New Year. Everyone listened with interest and praised the beauty of Chinese characters, and of course also highlighted its difficulty, haha!
As a Chinese student, it was nice to see that everyone expressed a great interest in Chinese culture. Many students said that they hope to have the opportunity to visit China in the future and to see my hometown Shanghai!
Grateful for being able to celebrate and share this cultural highlight
This event has brought me a lot of fun. It is not only a great opportunity to embrace and celebrate different cultures in an international community, like us, but also shows how much school cares about us. I am very grateful for the surprise school has prepared, so students like me who study abroad can experience the warmth of home and the joy of a new year celebration.
I also feel that we are fortunate that the school is organising these events with safety precautions in place. Students and teachers were wearing masks and gloves throughout the process, and everyone was divided into small groups. In addition to that, we get tested twice a week. Knowing that they do so much for safety and still find ways to have small social events like this makes boarding life great despite a pandemic.
I hope everyone that no matter where you got to spend this New Year, you were always accompanied by love!
– Angela, Grade 12