Foreign expats embrace Year of the Rabbit

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-01-26 21:40
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Muhammad Saad (front, 1st R), a Pakistani student at Ningxia Medical University, buys candies at a street fair in Helan county of Yinchuan, Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, Jan 17, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Albida Sultana, 20, had never visited China before she arrived just two months ago from Bangladesh. She said that Chinese New Year's Eve, which fell on Jan 21 this year, was a day full of joy and surprises that she would treasure "both in diary and memory."

"That day, our university arranged lunch for us, providing dumplings, a variety of dishes, fruits, juice, nuts, seeds and chocolates. I tried all the dishes and they were so tasty," said Sultana, who is studying at Ningxia Medical University.

Among the festival traditions, the feast on Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve has always been the highlight. Families gather together and eat sumptuous dishes. "That's why we hold such celebration activities," said Ma Xin, deputy director of the university's international education school.

Ma said that there are more than 400 international students from 32 countries and regions studying at the university, and over one-third have stayed on campus for this year's Spring Festival holiday. Busy studying for a postgraduate degree in orthopedic surgery, Muhammad Saad from Pakistan is among those who have stayed behind.

"Having been in China for over 10 years, I spent the most important part of my youth in China, which attaches me to this country and builds up my interest in the Chinese culture. I badly miss my family at this special moment," the 32-year-old student said. "Thanks to our university, I have joined such celebrations many times, and I like this special family reunion."

For Fetra Harisoa, from Madagascar, celebrating the Spring Festival in her husband's home county of Lichuan, East China's Jiangxi province, is a ritual she would never miss.

Going to market fairs is Harisoa's favorite errand during the Chinese New Year holiday. Her typical day in Lichuan always begins with visiting the fairs to stock up on Spring Festival snacks and knickknacks, such as couplets, candies, peanuts and melon seeds.

"I love spending time with the whole family. During the Spring Festival, we can also taste many local specialties, such as dumplings, rice noodles and a variety of desserts. It is precisely because of this that I fell in love with the Chinese New Year," she grinned.

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