At the beginning of the semester, I attended the Chinese Language Club’s Lantern Festival Celebration. On February 7th at the Jim Thorpe Multicultural Center, no fewer than forty people gathered to partake in traditional Chinese cuisine and celebrate the declining darkness of winter. The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first month, or on the first full moon of the year according to the ancient Chinese calendar. The calendar was formed according to astronomical cycles, with each month beginning on the new moon. We were celebrating a few days early as the 15th day of the first month actually fell on February 11th. The centerpiece of the CLC celebration was the table set up with ten or fifteen Chinese dishes including the food of the hour, yuanxiao or tangyuan. Yuanxiao is balls of rice flour most commonly filled with sweetened black sesame or red bean paste and the name literally translates to “first evening”, referring to the evening of the first full moon of the year. It is also a homophone for “togetherness” and often eaten during family reunions (Wikipedia Contributors). I came, I ate, I chatted with fellow China enthusiasts and Chinese citizens alike. I had a great time at the celebration (it’s hard to have a bad time when Chinese food is involved) and got to catch up with a friend who had been in China all summer. China has such a rich past and a plethora of holidays unknown to the Western world and I love being able to experience and learn about the stories and traditions important to my close Chinese friends.
Pictured below: Tangyuan with sweetened black sesame filling.
Rodriguez-Cancio, Bri. “Rice Balls.” Jump!, Jump! Immersion School, 17 Feb. 2017, www.jumpimmersion.com/blog/chinese-new-year-family-time. Accessed 14 May 2017.
Wikipedia contributors. “Tangyuan (food).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 May. 2017. Web. 15 May. 2017.