The Chinese New Year is coming soon, and we were privileged to have a Chinese family over for an interaction session with us!
Ms. Emily Wang and her parents from the Yunnan province in China visited The Oriental Dialogue last Sunday and shared some unique experiences.
We discussed the Chinese calendar – how the months are calculated, the kind of foods that are supposed to be eaten during the month, the preparation in the guo nian (past year) for the xin nian (New year), and bringing in the xin nian!
Along with this, we were told about the mythological monster ‘Nian’, and why the Chinese stay awake on the night of the new year.
One thing that made all of us curious was that Mr. Wang was continuously rolling whole walnuts in his hands. When we asked him why, he said they are for acupressure. It is wonderful to see how the Chinese people always put health first.
It was then time for chopsticks – a favorite skill that everyone wants to show-off! We spoke of how and why it is important in the Chinese culture plus the etiquette attached to it.
Talking of skills, Ms. Rachana, who had been on a scholarship programme to China, showed us how she learned to play the nunchaku – the martial arts weapon (the one that Bruce Lee is associated with). Pity, that she had to use a handkerchief instead!
Our team had also prepared the ‘hong-bao’s for the students. These are red envelopes (literally) and are given by the elders in the family to the youngsters. They have money in them and they symbolize blessings.
The character ‘fu’ means prosperity and is hung upside-down outside the homes, and the right side up inside the home. This year being the year of the dog, The Oriental Dialogue team designed special fu which is shaped like a dog for all their students.
We also exchanged gifts. One of our students, Mr. Thite, had a special gift for their new year. He gifted them idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Annapoorna, which was very apt for the beginning of the year.
In return, Mr. Wang gifted Mr. Thite two of his most priced possessions – two walnuts!!