Overseas students experience different Spring Festival in Yunnan

[InKunming--Interviews & Polls] When overseas students Chowdhury Rahman and Arjun kumar das walk on the streets and lanes in Kunming, they are keenly aware of the changes happening in the city. Shops pull down roller shutter doors one after one and paste a “fu” character upside down. Passers-by with their luggage are on the way home. In truth, they are involved in one of the largest “population migrations” in the world-- the Chinese New Year.

From distant Bangladesh to gorgeous spring city, the past Spring Festival has become the most memorable time for Chowdhury and Arjun in their learning career. Because of this, Kunming is somehow turning into a second home for overseas students to celebrate sorts of festivals. During the past Spring Festival, they were invited to enjoy delicious dumplings with friends in their teacher’s home, as well as watching Spring Festival Gala and setting off Squibs and firecrackers...

Chowdhury Rahman and Arjun kumar das enjoyed delicious dumplings.

Enjoying a wonderful Chinese New Year’s Eve in Kunming

As the evening progressed on the New Year’s Eve, invited by Peking Opera teacher Miss Qiu, Chowdhury, Arjun and other three students put on their new outfits and visited Miss Qiu.

"Miss Qiu prepared vegetable dumplings for us, which are pretty delicious. We eat a lot." Arjun recalled that happy feast. After the meal, he performed two sections of the Chinese tongue twister, winning praise from audience. The most interesting thing was that the parrot in Miss Qiu's home imitated their Chinese. "What a surprise!" Chowdhury and Arjun said.

The time needle pointed to eight o'clock, all the people sit around the TV like a family, watching the annual Spring Festival Gala. “My favorite program is Significant Beauty of Pear Garden (《盛世梨园美》) because I am learning drama. I think the drama culture is very interesting.” Chowdhury said. In Arjun’ eyes, the program Descendants of the Dragon seems like the description of China.

Chowdhury Rahman sets off Squibs and firecrackers.

When the Spring Festival Gala was done, firecrackers went up and the sky was lit up all around. Like children, Chowdhury and Arjun with already prepared fireworks to the campus playground in Yunnan University began to set off fireworks. “Firecrackers selling is prohibited in our country. But it is different in China. So we bought a lot to celebrate Spring Festival.” Chowdhury explained in an exciting tone.

However, it is not the first time for Chowdhury and Arjun to spend Spring Festival. In fact, they arrived in Kunming and started Chinese learning journey in July 2016. At that time, they were a little bit introverted and couldn’t speak Chinese at all. Consequently, they didn’t make too many friends. During that Spring Festival, as a large number of classmates going back home, they began missing their family as well.

When it comes to last year's Spring Festival, Chowdhury frowned and said, “we stayed in our dorm the whole holiday. Sometimes we had meal in canteen, or else ate instant noodles.” They went out but only found that many restaurants were closed.

Chowdhury admires the scenery at Shuanglong Bridge in Jianshui.

As time stretching on, they make many friends at school and their life in Kunming is becoming wonderful too. In spare time, they love to walk around the city and admire beautiful landscapes, for instance, climbing West Mountain (Xishan), hanging out on Nanping Street, going to University Town and so on.

Making dumplings and porcelain in Jianshui

In order to avoid the boring Spring Festival like the past, Chowdhury and Arjun planned early this year. They decided to enjoy the holiday in Jianshui county with other friends.

“We want to make dumplings by ourselves after the dumplings feast at New Year’s Eve.” Arjun recalled the wonderful time in Jianshui. Many overseas students started making dumplings in a youth hostel. There were dozens of stuffed dumplings, such as shredded radish, shredded potato, cucumber strips, kelp and so on. A big plate of dumplings was finished after a short while.

They were making dumplings in Jianshui.

When dumplings were cooked, all the people made their own seasonings. Shortly after that, they started another dumpling feast with chopsticks.

Whether in Miss Qiu’s house in Kunming or youth hostel in Jianshui, Chowdhury and Arjun experienced the happiness of “family reunion” during the dumpling feast. As for them, the short meal time made their day.

In addition, they visit Wanyao Village located in the north of Jianshui City and participated in the porcelain production process. “We had a lot of fun there and I made a small bottle, but it was not very delicate.” Chowdhury said.

Chowdhury and Arjun visited Wanyao village

Just like their Chinese from zero to simple communication, their Spring Festival is changing too, from a boring one to a great one. Unconsciously, seven days passed by. The atmosphere of Spring Festival gradually disappeared with the vanishing firecrackers.

The experience of celebrating Chinese New Year in Yunnan lets Chowdhury, Arjun and other outsiders find the happiness of reunion and joy of harvest. Although 2018 is just beginning, they have been looking forward to the next Spring Festival.

Click here to view Chinese report.

(Editors: Rachel, Christine)

Copyright @Kunming Information Hub 2019. All Rights Reserved. E-mail:inkunmingnews@gmail.com