The Chinese classes are celebrating the upcoming Chinese New Year on Jan. 31 with a Chinese New Year celebration feast. In preparation, students will research a Chinese dish, prepare the food and then present their dish and recipe at the feast. In addition, students have been learning Chinese New Year songs and have participated in culture projects to learn more about the variety of traditions in China and Taiwan during this time of year.
“I told students that although we mentioned a lot of different customs and practices, that does not mean (that) it applies to every Chinese in China or in Taiwan. It’s the general information,” Chinese teacher Tungfen Lee said. “Every region has its subculture (and) they have their own celebration. I told students they have to be aware that the customs or practices we learn do not apply to everybody.”
According to Lee, the Chinese New Year celebration feast has always occurred every two years. In previous years, students have engaged in other aspects of Chinese culture, including Chinese calligraphy, in which the students wrote spring couplets and blessings for the new year.
Several students, like Chinese student and sophomore Sara Yung, are looking forward to the feast and trying various types of Chinese food.
“I (get) to experience more variety of Chinese food that I haven’t experienced before,” Yung said.
According to Yung, she is also looking forward to learning more about Chinese culture in the upcoming weeks before the feast.
Yung said, “I think, because I am Chinese, but yet I’m not very Chinese traditionally oriented, I think it’s pretty nice learning what common people from China do.”
As a teacher, Lee hopes that students like Yung will continue to learn about Chinese culture with the Chinese food project, but also that they will share it with their families as well.
“I want them to practice at home with their family. That’s the main thing. Not just share the food in class,” Lee said. “I want them to share the Chinese food at home. So if they are not heritage students, their families can also share the food with them.”
Besides just sharing Chinese culture with her students’ families, Lee will also be decorating the display case in the world language department to share some Chinese culture with other students who are not learning Chinese.
Ultimately, Lee hopes that this experience will allow her students to become culturally aware and understand more about Chinese traditions.
“Learning culture enables students to behave or act culturally appropriate in many situations,” Lee said. “Learning culture will help them to get to know people better and also behave culturally appropriate.”