Chinese New Year is always a great occasion and celebration at Unilife and this year was no different!
Walking into the Social Hub at Middle Street, Portsmouth and the Common Room in Park House, Southampton a sea of red and gold colours captivated residents. The colour red is a lucky colour in China symbolising good fortune and joy with Gold being the colour of wealth. 2019 is the year of the pig which meant this animal from the Chinese Zodiac was all around, from the flag bunting to the beautiful balloon bouquets.
At 5pm the room filled with the tantalising aroma of the Chinese foods ranging from Satay Chicken to Prawn Toast and not forgetting the all important dumplings! Dumplings are considered a lucky food to include in a Chinese New Year celebration as they represent wealth due to their resemblance to ancient Chinese money, ingots. With both vegetarian and meat dumplings on offer there was plenty of luck for residents to consume!
Alongside the hot Chinese dishes a selection of other traditional Chinese snacks were on offer including prawn crackers, clementines (symbolising good fortune) and White Rabbit candy (the most popular candy in China) which according to Unilife Team member Kim tasted like Mini Milk ice creams, delicious!
Although not a Chinese tradition as many expect, fortune cookies are still widely associated with China and very popular after eating a meal. The fortune cookies disappeared very quickly throughout the evening with many residents eager to read and share their fortune with their friends and neighbours. Iulia in particular was very excited to see her fortune!
There was plenty of traditional Chinese entertainment throughout the evening including board games, painting and TV. The CCTV Spring Festival Gala played through the large TV screens providing a fascinating insight into Chinese culture and showcasing why it is the most watched television show in China and worldwide (over 1.1 billion people tuned in this year!).
Before technology and mobile phones existed families in China would enjoy a game of Mahjong which some say has similarities to the popular card game Rummy. A group of residents took the opportunity to use the brand new Unilife Mahjong set to play this traditional Chinese game at Park House in Southampton which saw many games being played and a crowd of spectators enjoying how the game is played and won.
Members of the Unilife Team including Marius and Kim took the opportunity to learn Chinese writing by painting traditional Chinese symbols of prosperity and good fortune onto red poster paper with the help of residents. By the end of the evening the roll of paper was filled with residents Chinese symbols and messages for the Chinese New Year.
During the evening residents were drawn to a stand of bright red envelopes inscribed in gold. These are a tradition in China whereby families give one another red envelopes filled with money which symbolises good wishes and luck for the new year ahead. The Unilife Team happily gifted each resident their own red envelope for the new year.
The Chinese New Year celebrations were an informative, interesting and exciting experience for all involved and a great way to start the new year and year of the pig. Thank you to everyone who came along to the event and a Happy Chinese New Year to all!
Next year we look forward to the Chinese Year of the Rat and a Chinese New Year celebration at our newest student accommodation in Sparkford Road, Winchester!
Photos of our Chinese New Year celebrations can be seen on our Instagram page (unilifestudent).