Three weeks ago we celebrated Chinese new year (you can find previous publications on our blog about all the celebrations here or here) 😉
So 2013 is a snake year, but what does it exactly mean for Chinese people ??
Snake is the 6th year of the Chinese Zodiac, there are 12 different animals representing every year.
Usually animals are associated with personality of people born during this year. Chinese people often says that snake people are elegant, seductive and smart but also unscrupulous!
It is said that snake people (years :1989, 2001 and 2013) can have very good relationship with people from ox years (1985, 1997 and 2009) and rooster years (1981, 1993, and 2005) but can’t support people from pig years (1983, 1995 and 2007).
In Qingdao you can find Chinese pictures and decorations hanging on almost every shop or restaurant wishing you a happy new year with a snake on it.
Snake people are also influenced by the two last numbers of their birth year, it is symbolised by five elements :
0 & 1 : Metal
2 & 3 : Water
4 & 5 : Wood
6 & 7 : Fire
8 & 9 : Earth
All these elements play a different role on snake people’s and you can compare it to the decans in the west zodiac.
Last sunday, Amber’s parents invited Hanna, Lisa, Jack and me to their place to celebrate the Chinese New Year, it was a very nice and relaxed day.
In the Chinese tradition you don’t need to finish dishes, and it’s a sign of respect for your host if you leave some food in your plate. So Amber’s mother cooked us many excellent dishes and the starters would already have been enough, we spent most part of the afternoon eating (and drinking!).
In the late afternoon, Amber’s father taught us how to make our own Jiaozi (Chinese Raviolis), with meat and vegetables. We all had to try to do at least one, I am of course a natural, Hanna and Lisa were not bad as well but Jack somehow managed to elope this tricky task. After making them we ate them (again eating…), so that evening we were not hungry at all!
In the evening we met most of our interns, and we went to the 4th May square to light fireworks together. Since not everyone is staying in a host family and lighting fireworks is part of the tradition when celebrating New Year, we thought that it would be fun to make everyone at least buy something and light it up together. The Chinese people around us had a lot of fun as well watching foreigners lighting little tanks and rainbow fireworks, as well as big fat firecrackers.
For me it was the first time that I celebrate Chinese New Year, when I arrived I thought that there will be some parade or things like this in the streets.
But not at all, it’s the exact opposite, it’s a familial celebration, Chinese people are visiting their relatives and Qingdao was very calm during the whole week, most shops and restaurants were closed and almost no-one was on the streets…Except for millions of fireworks which seemed to be exploding everywhere all day and night!