中文 |

American lady's experience of spending Spring Festival in Yunnan

By : InKunming | Published: 2016-02-17

Marlene with some Kunming friends has a dinner in a new year’s eve. [Provided to InKunming]

A student from Kunming University of Science of Technology wrote some red couplets and gave them to Marlene. [Provided to InKunming]

[InKunming--Interviews & Polls]  "I do not know the origin of Chinese Spring Festival, do not know the history of the festival, but I feel that the significance of the Chinese Spring Festival is to get-together with those who are close to you," said Marlene, an American lady, who currently works as an oral English teacher at Kunming University of Science and Technology, in Kunming.

Marlene, having lived in Kunming for seven years, has had rich experiences spending Chinese Spring Festival with Yunnan people over the past six years. "Over the past years, I have spent the festival not only in Kunming, but also in other cities or villages in Yunnan Province," Marlene began to recall her story related to Spring Festival in the province.

Except for this year's Chinese Spring Festival that she spent in Thailand, Marlene has spent every year since coming to China with Yunnan friends to celebrate the festival. "I love to spend Chinese Spring Festival in Yunnan. This year I was in Thailand on the eve of Spring Festival. I actually turned on the CCTV channel to watch a few minutes of the Spring Festival Gala, because I really did miss being in Yunnan for the New Year!" Marlene emphasized how much the Chinese Spring Festival means to her.

No matter whether spending the Spring Festival in cities of Yunnan, or in villages of the province, the most important thing to Marlene is to have a get-together with friends. According to Marlene, a small Kunming family, made up of her friend Grace, and her mom, has been significant for Marlene during the Spring Festival. "We've spent time with each other during the Spring Festival for five years now," Marlene explained what kind of get-togethers she has had with Yunnan friends during the festival.

"From the time I was a student and came to know Grace, to when we were roommates, to seeing how Grace's mom's health has gotten better and better in the last five years, to now when Grace will get married soon, I've seen many good changes coming about for Grace and her mom in the last few years." Marlene told InKunming journalist her feelings that why she cherishes the connection with the small family, "I feel moved and happy to see so many good things happening in their family. They are my close friends. I feel like I'm a part of their family."

Also because of her friendship with the family, Marlene was invited by Grace to help clean Grace's mom house and paint one of the house rooms one year before the Spring Festival. To Chinese people, only very familiar friends or family members will be invited to spend Spring Festival together.

Besides cleaning house together with family members, which is a tradition from Spring Festival for Chinese people, Marlene was also invited to attend family get-togethers with Grace and her mom’s small family during the Spring Festival.

"During the Spring Festival, Grace, Grace's mom and I enjoyed a barbeque meal on the roof of Grace's house with other friends. After the meal, we watched the CCTV Spring Festival Gala Evening, played interesting games, and had some meaningful chats." Marlene referred some details about how they spent a significant Spring Festival with close friends.

Marlene and her friends gathered in a village of Yunnan Province to celebrate Chinese Spring Festival. [Provided to InKunming]

Picture shows a meal that cooked in a village of Yunnan during Chinese Spring Festival. Pine leaves put on meal table is a tradition of Yunnan people to celebrate the festival. [Provided to InKunming]

Marlene also said:"Last year, Grace's mom brought a few of her friends to my house in Kunming to during the Spring Festival holiday. That time, Grace was not along." Marlene mentioned she is not only a close friend to Grace, the young lady, but also to Grace's mom, a middle-aged woman. "Grace's mom and her friends cooked Yunnan-style foods. We also baked a chicken together in my oven."

Ways to accompany Yunnan friends to spend the Spring Festival together for Marlene are also abundant. Having meals, watching the CCTV program, chatting face to face together with friends, are just some ways Marlene has experienced Spring Festival with Yunnan friends.

Playing guitar and singing with friends, taking photos of friends’ family members, climbing mountains with friends, are also ways for Marlene to celebrate the Spring Festival. "I love to try to bring joy to people and I hope I can find ways to make the holiday even more special for them." Marlene pointed out.

During the Spring Festival, Chinese friends also bring joy to Marlene. One Yunnan friend's dad prepared a red packet for Marlene when she came to the friend’s family located in Kaiyuan city of Yunnan province to celebrate the Spring Festival. "I was really surprised. Her dad made me feel really special when he gave both her and me a red packet," Marlene said very happily.

This year, a student from the university where Marlene works hand-wrote some red couplets and gave them to Marlene. "This is my first time to accept red couplets from a Chinese friend, and also the first time to paste couplets around the door of my house." Marlene liked the couplets very much, since couplets represent good wishes from the Chinese friend to her.

In fact, to spend Spring Festival with Yunnan friends, to have get-togethers with friends is just one small reason Marlene has enjoyed living in Yunnan these seven years. “One thing I really appreciate about Yunnan is the hospitality of people. Hospitality is a real gift that people possess and I feel at home wherever I go. Wherever I go in Yunnan I am always welcomed by people. I love Yunnan and I love China," Marlene summarized.

Click here to view Chinese report.

(Editors: Cathy Chen, Tracy)

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