First of all, sorry for being super far behind in posting my blogs. This really should have been posted in February or March, but here it is in May. As usual, OU’s Chinese Language Club hosted a Chinese New Year festival. We couldn’t reserve a room in time to actually do it on Chinese New Year, so we just moved the celebration to Lantern Festival, which is the festival marking the end of New Year Festivities.
As with most Chinese Festivals, there are some cool folk legends associated with Lantern Festival. The most common legend is that once, the Jade Emperor of Heaven sent a crane down to Earth, and the crane was killed by a villager. The crane was a favorite of the Jade Emperor, and he was very angry that it was killed. He told the villagers that he would set fire to the village as punishment. His daughter, however, pitied the villagers, for the killing of the crane was only an accident, so she told them when the Emperor planned to set fire to the village. On the day when the Emperor planned to burn the village, the villagers decorated every house with bright lanterns. The Emperor saw the village lit up from afar, and believed that it was already on fire, so he didn’t go to burn it down. Thus, the village was saved.
In the modern day, Lantern Festival is still celebrated with colorful lanterns. The lanterns are often red, and some even feature riddles for people to solve. There is also a food associated with Lantern Festival, called 元宵 (yuan xiao). 元宵 are glutinous rice balls. Their round shape symbolizes family togetherness. As with many Chinese Festivals, Lantern Festival is a time to gather and enjoy food with family.
The OU Chinese program family had a nice celebration, featuring元宵 and 饺子 (jiao zi, a delicious type of dumpling) that were handmade by the Chinese professors, other CLC officers, and yours truly. Despite the fact that we couldn’t get music or our presentation to work, and the food was a little late, the event was a success. I look forward to next year when we’ll get to do it all again.