Chinese New Year's in Norway. Photo: Amber Huang

Nostalgia across thousands of miles

An old Chinese saying goes like this: A lonely stranger in a strange land I am cast; I miss my family all the more on every festive day.

By AMBER HUANG, text and photo

Family union is the eternal theme of Chinese New Year. However, few Chinese in Molde will be able to spend this important moment with their family because of study or work.

Chinese New Year's in Norway. Photo: Amber Huang
Chinese New Year’s in Norway. Photo: Amber Huang

Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, is the most important holiday for Chinese people and one of the most influential festivals in the world. Excitement and happiness are palpable this time of year, and they reach their peak on lunar New Year’s Eve (February 7th this year).

Rosa Yingru Han, who graduated with a MSc in Operation Management last year, will spend her 11th Chinese New Year in Norway.

«I don’t remember how I celebrated the Chinese New Year my first year in Norway. But when I did my bachelors in Bergen, maybe in 2006, I participated in the New Year activity organized by Bergen Chinese Student Union. They had arranged many creative programs and traditional Chinese food. I miss my hometown so much, but unfortunately I don’t have a vacation during this period. I have to work,» Rosa said, with regret and nostalgia. «This year I will prepare more Chinese food and share them with my colleagues. With them, I’m not alone. I hope I could pass the joy to everyone and start working in a rising spirit.»

A window counter with Chinese decorations in Norway. Photo: Amber Huang
A window counter with Chinese decorations in Norway. Photo: Amber Huang

Student Phillis Huang, MSc of SCM, busy with master thesis this semester, said: «I miss my family very much. I will have a video chat with my family when it’s 12 o’clock in China, so that I don’t feel lonely, and it is always good to say Happy New Year in the very beginning of the new year. That will bring luck and fortune. I would like to join the celebration of Chinese church, because I enjoy the atmosphere when people get together. Of course they will also offer us delicious Chinese food.»

«It is the first time I celebrate the Spring Festival overseas», student Cassie Yang, MSc of SCM, said. «This morning I had a video chat with my family, at that time they were having the reunion dinner. This is the only festival atmosphere I can feel. And I have several big assignments to finish, so I will just celebrate this festival simply with some friends, like having a dinner together, making more Chinese food.»

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Preparing food is good idea when missing home. Photo: Amber Huang

Speaking of food, no Spring Festival is complete without it. In ancient time, people could not always get good food when they desired, which is something that does not apply to society today. Often, people faced the risk of famine. The best time to celebrate was when food was available in plenty, which was possible in spring near the beginning of the lunar New Year. This was mainly why the Spring Festival acquired such great importance among Chinese people. For Chinese students, to eat an abundance of food on New Year’s Eve is the first idea when feeling the nostalgia of home.

Happy Chinese New Year!