Chinese students in Halifax celebrate Chinese Spring Festival
Almost 600 people attended the gala at the Cunard Centre
February 4, 2018, 3:29 pm ASTLast Updated: February 4, 2018, 3:29 pm AST'
On Saturday night, almost 600 Chinese university students who are away from home gathered together to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year.
“For me, the Chinese Spring Festival means reunion,” said Yong Wang, a fourth-year student at Dalhousie University, in Mandarin.
The Spring Festival Gala was held in Cunard Centre. Chinese students who are studying in Halifax gave several performances, along with those from the local Canadian-Chinese community.
Wang has celebrated the Chinese Spring Festival in Halifax for four years.
“It is not about the food or the show; it is about the sense of home,” said Wang. “When you live overseas for a long time, you will find how much you love your home country.”
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival in modern China, has its date calculated by Chinese Lunar Calendar. Often, Chinese people will come home, no matter how far it is, to be with their families at this time.
For Jiangong Zhang, a first-year student at Dalhousie, the Chinese Spring Festival is a chance to take a rest every year.
“You can sit with your friends and families to have a review of your last year, then you get refreshed and start your next year,” said Zhang.
Despite the event’s connection to the Chinese community, they aren’t the only ones who celebrate the Spring Festival. Canadians do as well.
Six-year-old Jaylah Shears, who attends Future Star Kindergarten, sang a Chinese song during the gala with her classmates.
“The show is great,” said Jaylah. “I want to learn more Chinese in the future.”
Linda Liao, principal of Future Star Kindergarten, said that the Spring Festival gala is a platform for Canadians to know more about Chinese culture.
“I am so happy that students are willing to learn more about the different culture,” said Liao. “I am proud of their performance.”
The president of Saint Mary’s University, Robert Summerby-Murray, described this year’s event as the biggest so far.
“Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada that actually has a strategy and initiative to build a connection between Nova Scotia and China,” Murray told The Signal.
“It is really important for us here in Halifax to have Chinese students, and ensure we celebrate the academic excellence and what they bring to our community in terms of culture.”
Meifen Zhu, officer of education with the Embassy of The People’s Republic of China in Canada, talked with The Signal. She encouraged Chinese students in Canada to continue being good ambassadors for their country and culture.
“Last December, President Xi delivered a speech to encourage overseas students to be devoted to their country and work hard for their dreams,” said Zhu. “They are also our expectations.”