Q&AWhat kind of things will foreigners do to celebrate the Chinese new year?
Fan Ben Asked 2 years

I was curious about how people celebrate Chinese New Year in another country like United State.  I am not asking all of them, I am just ask the people who want to do that. And, what kind of popular things you can see in other country that stand for Chiness New Year, or something interesting about that .

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Best Answer
iamuwajimaya Staff answered 2 years

The answer is easy: They don’t.
Most people in American know little or nothing about Chinese New Year. I agree that it isn’t fair. People around the world, including people in China, celebrate Western holidays like Christmas, so why don’t natives of those Western countries celebrate Chinese New Year? 
Answer: I have no idea.
But, there are celebrations of the Spring Festival in America. Though, a huge majority of the people celebrating are, yes, Chinese. One such event is the parade down Mott street, through Chinatown in Manhattan, New York. It has been going on there for about 20 years, and is a pretty big event. 
Here’s a picture:
A more interesting question is, ‘What do foreigners in China think about the Chinese New Year?’
I lived in China for four years and experienced, eh… four Chinese New Year celebrations, and each was different. So, I would like to share my honest impressions of the holiday by telling you about my first two. Note that my experiences don’t represent the ideas of all foreigners in China. Everybody has their own perspective.
My first spring festival was both the most interesting and the most boring. For the first few days I went with a friend to a very small city near Tianjin. The family I stayed with went out of their way to keep all of the traditions. I was pretty impressed and learned quite a lot about the culture. Sadly, I later learned that much of it had been done BECAUSE I was there. Think about that for a moment. A Chinese celebration becomes MORE Chinese-ish because a foreigner is present. Seems like a sign that those traditions may be fading. Sad indeed.
That first festival suddenly become very boring when I returned to my apartment. All restaurants were closed. None of my Chinese friends wanted to hang out because they had to spend their vacation visiting relatives every minute of every day. I walked the empty streets of Tianjin talking to myself for five days, with only instant noodles to keep me alive. I was glad to return to work and glad when it was over. 
My advice: If you know a foreigner, invite them to celebrate with your family next time. They might be glad for the chance to learn more about your culture. That’s one of the reasons people come to China—to learn about it and understand it. After all, ‘China has a 5,000 year history.’ 
My second Spring Festival was spent with an American friend, in Tianjin. We ate dumplings, bought new Clothes, and set off fireworks—all the things we were supposed to do. Can you picture it? Two Americans trying to be as Chinese as possible. We had nothing else do but hang out, watch movies and play video games. Strangely, that SF is quite precious in my mind.
That brings me to what I don’t particularly like about Chinese New Year—obligation. An obligation is something we have to do, even if we don’t want to. Obligations can be good, but sometimes our obligations make us tired. One day during the holiday I was with a friend, visiting their relatives. I looked around and noticed how depressed everyone looked. I thought, ‘how strange. Shouldn’t this be a time of JOY?!’ Later I discovered, the ‘visiting family’ tradition in China is so powerful that saying, ‘I’d rather stay home, eat cake and watch Sherlock… because it’s my vacation,’ is often not an option. I’m still trying to fully understand the complex relationships among Chinese people. 
I like my relatives very much, but getting together with all of them for more than 2 or 3 days a year would be too much of a good thing. 
Interestingly, I’ve noticed that in the last two years, a lot of  Chinese people have started traveling abroad instead. It’s not my place to say whether that’s a bad thing or not, whether or not it’s a violation of Chinese culture. All I can say is, that’s what I would do.
I’m still learning a lot about the Chinese New Year, and hope that many of the fascinating traditions attached to it don’t completely fade away. 

Fan Ben replied 2 years ago

Well, I think it depends on the society. I want to share a short story in here. When I was a child, I live in a small community, everyone knows who you are, and we help each other by putting skills and labor, we got a good relationship with each other. But after I moved into a new building in the city, I found that I don’t even know all the neighbors and we are not as friendly as before, so I was understood that one of the community’s culture has fade during almost ten years. I think people can do nothing to stop this trend, but to accept it. That things still happen to us, I don’t know what they will be in the future.

iamuwajimayaiamuwajimaya Staff replied 2 years ago

That’s an interesting point. I wonder how things will develop in the future, regarding these customs. Will they come back or continue to fade?

Fan Ben replied 2 years ago

Thank you for this answer, Sir. I really enjoyed the moment when I had learned something in this group. In fact, I don’t know much about those things, but I think the reason why people get tired when they come to visit their family is that some traditional customs has been changed in order to conform to the modern sociaty now, what these customs had left are only form.

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