Being in China for the Spring Festival, I really wanted to understand the importance of this festival to the Chinese people. I had the possibility to spend the Chinese New Year with a Chinese family, and what could be any better than learning more about the culture, tradition and faith from the locals themselves? So I seized this opportunity and packed my bags for a few days.To start from the very beginning… I met Guimin Zhang, alias Molly, when I arrived in Qingdao at the end of January and she invited me to come to see her family during the Spring Festival. Therefore, on the 17th after work, I took the bus to her home, wondering what was awaiting me. But there was no need to worry. I was welcomed in the Chinese way: as a special guest. During the day and until late at night fireworks were set off.
On the 18th, we went to the grandfather’s home. I helped a bit to cook for lunch, but the grandmother just wanted me to sit on the sofa and watch TV. It was really difficult for me to understand what they were saying in Chinese, because they have this particular Qingdao accent and speak so quickly.
Just before lunch, I was invited to go with them to the cemetery, which is traditionally exclusive to men. However, there are no longer only men going, and some women also take part in this tradition. Naturally, everybody was looking at me: “But… Who is that girl?” In the cemetery, it was very noisy because everyone was setting off fireworks in front of their ancestors’ graves to show their respect to them. They also burned incense and this particular yellow paper representing money which is believed to be sent off to the dead. Afterwards we went to different places around the city to set off fireworks and burn more of this yellow paper.
In the afternoon, we visited some other family members. I was surprised at the fact that, whenever we would enter a different home, we would be offered some fruit. Nice and refreshing!
And after that, time for dumplings with the whole family! Yeaaah. I learnt how to make them, from flour to plate. At the beginning my dumplings were… Well… They didn’t look like dumplings, I have to admit. But the more I made, the better their shape. Practice makes perfection. And now that I know how to make them by myself, I may make some when I’ll be back to France and impress my family and friends with my new abilities.
And for now I only have one more thing left to say:
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