The Spring Festival 2021 is fast approaching. This year, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration of the festival is quite different. All of those must-haves like reunions, family dinners, and travel are offset by social distancing. But a virtual celebration is always a good way for all of us to send our best wishes to families and friends.

In this episode of the Chat Room, we invite foreign guests living in China and Chinese who left the country years ago to share their plans for the Chinese New Year 2021. What are their favorite parts of the Spring Festival? What kind of Spring Festival traditions do they have in their families? How will the pandemic affect their celebrations? Let’s listen to everything!

Festival plan: it’s always about the food

Food is of course the priority among the priorities of the Spring Festival celebrations. Speaking of the festival plans, all of the guests mentioned their New Year’s specials.

Three in five invited families said they plan to have dumplings for the festival. Unable to return to her hometown of Foshan, southern China’s Guangdong Province, Ann Zhang, a social media influencer in New Jersey, United States, changed her travel plan to a small reunion with friends – play mahjong and make dumplings. Emerika E. Rovinson, a student in Wuhan, Hubei province (central China), will teach her teacher to prepare spring rolls and dumplings, to mark her first Spring Festival celebration in China. And James Lalonde and Zhang Yi, a couple living in Beijing, also said they will be making dumplings at home with their families.

Screenshot of the chat room.

Screenshot of the chat room.

While for Luo Xiaomin and Dimitri Debourg, a couple also living in Wuhan, the New Year’s party looks more lavish. For them, Wuhan’s star cuisines are must-haves, including canned meat sausages and pork-stuffed lotus root. Moreover, as a professional French chef, Dimitri also surprised the crowds with a delicate cake in the shape of an ox!

Luo Xiaomin and Dimitri Debourg, a couple living in Wuhan.

Luo Xiaomin and Dimitri Debourg, a couple living in Wuhan.

Food is also seen as the biggest expectation of Ben Kavanagh, a social media influencer in Dublin, Ireland. “Food is one of the main reasons I came to China. There is so much you can try,” he said. Due to the city lockdown, he said he would only have takeout from local Chinese restaurants. “I love spring rolls more than anything else,” he said, teasing that it may sound underwhelming as he knows it’s more for strangers. “We grow up and are told it’s Chinese food. And when we get to China, none of the Chinese eat anything.”

Ben Kavanagh, social media influencer in Dublin, Ireland.

Ben Kavanagh, social media influencer in Dublin, Ireland.

“It’s not the Spring Festival without the gala”

For Chinese people, watching the Spring Festival gala is a must during the holiday season. Featuring performances such as traditional Chinese crosstalk, short skits, martial arts, song and dance, the gala is a must-have entertainment during the holidays and is common memories for all Chinese people at home and abroad. ‘foreigner.

“When you realize that you are watching a show that billions of people are watching at the same time, you feel like your happiness has doubled,” said Ann Zhang, stressing the significance of the gala for Chinese families. The show is a staple in his family every year. Even though she now lives abroad, she still sticks to the tradition. Some shows are so impressive that she still remembers them, including her favorite dance show named “Thousand-Hand Kwan-yin”.

Ann Zhang, a social media influencer in New Jersey, USA

Ann Zhang, a social media influencer in New Jersey, USA

Influenced by his wife Zhang Yi and his family, James Lalonde has also been watching the gala for years. According to him, they don’t really watch her all night, but they do watch the covers. “It’s all vacation!” James said, adding that he loves comedy the most. When asked how he could understand comedy lines and jokes, James shared his secret: “Because it’s rehearsed! Keep asking, what does that mean? Why is it? funny? Why are people laughing at it? ” He said watching the gala acted as a learning experience. “I learned to speak like a dongbei actor (from the northeast). He even tried to tell jokes to his Chinese friends from the northeastern provinces.

James Lalonde and Zhang Yi, a couple living in Beijing, China

James Lalonde and Zhang Yi, a couple living in Beijing, China

Unlike Zhang Yi and James, Xiaomin and Dimitri prefer to watch the gala all night long with the families. According to Xiaomin, Dimitri also seems interested in the gala. Ding Xun, their friend and university professor in Wuhan, also expressed her love for the gala and the happy atmosphere it gives off. “It’s not the Spring Festival without the gala, is it?”

She said she liked a comedy named Zhongdiangong (Hourly or part-time housekeeper in English) a lot, starring Chinese comedian Zhao Benshan and Song Dandan. Despite being a 2000s gala comedy, she still recommended it to her foreign friends. “It’s just classic, no matter how much the weather has changed.”

Welcoming the Year of the Ox, the guests also shared their New Year’s resolutions and best wishes for themselves, their families and their friends.

For Ann, her first goal in 2021 is to visit her parents. As her father turns 50 in the new year, she wants to celebrate the big year with him. Meanwhile, she’s busy launching her own brand online, so her second resolution is to design more great women’s clothing and keep posting fun videos to bring more joy to others.

Ann Zhang, a social media influencer in New Jersey, USA

Ann Zhang, a social media influencer in New Jersey, USA

Xiaomin and Dimitri’s 10-year-old son sent his most sincere wishes to all the people of Wuhan, wishing them good health, happiness and their children excellent results in school. He also said his dream was to become a soldier when he grew up. The young man also shared his thoughts on the pandemic. “There is always a rainbow after the rains. We are now fighting through task after task, and we will defeat the pandemic by the end of it.”

Luo Xiaomin (1st L) and Dimitri Debourg (1st D) with their son (C) and friend Ding Xun (2nd L)

Luo Xiaomin (1st L) and Dimitri Debourg (1st D) with their son (C) and friend Ding Xun (2nd L)

Other guests also shared their wishes to be reunited with family and friends, to stay healthy and happy, to achieve good results in competition and to continue their careers and studies well.

Emerika E. Robinson, student in Wuhan, central China.

Emerika E. Robinson, student in Wuhan, central China.

Just as the young boy said, it is the imperfect that makes the perfect. And it is only after the huge storms that you can see the rainbow. In the Year of the Ox, with the auspicious zodiac symbolizing strengths, independence and many good meanings, let’s hope everyone can lead happy and healthy lives and fulfill their New Year’s resolutions.

What are your plans for the Spring Festival? What are your New Year’s resolutions? Thank you for sharing with us !