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Spring Festival 2021
Year of the Ox

Welcome to the UWTSD Confucius Institute’s online celebration of the 2021 Spring Festival!  This year we are celebrating the Year of the Ox.

Year of the Ox (Niu Nian 牛年)

The Chinese New Year has several other names. It’s also called the Spring Festival (Chun Jie 春节)  and the Lunar New Year Festival (Nong Li Chun Jie农历春节).

According to the Lunisolar Calendar which tracks the phases of the moon, every lunar year has its particular Zodiac Animals (Sheng Xiao生肖). 2021 is the Zodiac year of the Ox (Niu Nian牛年).

The Chinese zodiac features 12 animal signs in this order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Originating from ancient animal worship from over 2,000 years ago, the Chinese zodiac is an essential part of Chinese culture.

Much like the western zodiac symbols, the 12 Chinese zodiac animals not only represent months of the year, but are also used to indicate people’s personalities.

The Ox represents physical, mental and emotional strength and stamina. We really hope the Ox year of 2021 will bring strength and stamina to the world and hope that people can live in a Covid-free, blossoming future.

On this page you will find lots of interesting activities and resources to explore at home at home or in school.

New Year Folk paintings (Nian Hua年画)

These beautiful folk art paper cuttings are typical of the Shanxi Province of northwest China.

The images include Fortune, (Fu 福), the Fortune Ox (Ji Xiang Niu 吉祥牛) and the Guardians of the Door (Men Shen 门神)。

During the Spring Festival, Chinese people decorate their walls, windows and doors with such paper cuttings.

These images are courtesy of Jalo Home, a creative home-making company in China.

New Year Feast (Nian Ye Fan 年夜饭)

Celebrating the Spring Festival (Guo Nian 过年) is a very special time for Chinese people. It’s the biggest occasion of the year, celebrated in traditional ways with the entire family.

One of the most important activities is sharing in New Year Feast (Nian Ye Fan 年夜饭) with whole the family. During these New Year Eve dinners, families prepare a variety of Chinese traditional cuisine and especially welcome are the dishes that represent good fortune and well-being.

For example, a dish cooked with a whole fish is indispensable on the dinner table, for fish represents prosperity in the coming new year (Nian Nian You Yu年年有(鱼)余).

Now, we are going to show you another traditional Chinese snack with the very auspicious meaning of Happiness and Laughter (Kai Kou Xiao开口笑).

This short video is presented by SUN Guo, the instructor of Tourism College in Beijing Union University, and is from the online MOOC course of Chinese Universities: Beijing Taste.

If you would like to make Kai Kou Xiao, you can download the recipe here.

Chinese Tea Ceremony (Cha Yi 茶艺)

Tea drinking in China is not only for enjoying leisure time but it’s also a culture and an art form.

For centuries, people have practiced the tradition of serving tea and demonstrating the Chinese tea ceremony during the big festivals including the Spring Festival.

Usually family groups or friends sit around the tea table, drinking tea, enjoying the tea ceremony, and sometimes chanting verse and singing songs.

The Chinese tea ceremony emphasizes the tea, rather than the ceremony – the taste and aroma of the tea, and the subtle differences between different teas.

The short video below is presented by TIAN Tong, the Director of the Tourism College of Beijing Union University.

In the short video, TIAN Tong will show you the steps of the Qi Men black Tea Ceremony.

Stay healthy in 2021 Ba Duan Jin(八段锦)

There is an ancient Chinese saying which goes: ‘A year's plan starts with spring and a day’s plan starts with early morning’.

Climbing mountains or doing exercise in the early morning during the Spring Festival is one of the traditional activities.

Recently, Ba Duan Jin (八段锦) has become increasingly popular among Chinese people.

Ba Duan Jin is a well-being activity with a long history and is a rich cultural treasure, it embodying the wisdom of the ancient Chinese.

Practicing Ba Duan Jin will let you feel peace of mind and the complete relaxation.

The short video is the Ba Duan Jin demonstration conducted by ZHANG Hao, the Champion of Ba Duan Jin in the 2017 National amateur competition of Health Qigong.

We hope you may follow the practice to improve immunity and combat stress.

Ox Picture


Paper Cutting

During the Spring Festival Chinese people like to put paper cuttings of beautiful folk art images to decorate their windows.  These images are taken from nature, and include all kinds of animals that signify good luck, such as fish.  As 2021 is the Year of the Ox, we have chosen this attractive paper cutting for you to make.

The short video of paper cutting of Ox is presented by YANG Huizi, the instructor of the art college in Beijing Union University.

You can download the instruction sheet for the Ox Paper cutting here. Why not get creative and draw your own design for the ox! You will need fine red paper, or red rice paper, scissor, pen and pencil.  Get cutting!

Make a paper model of the Ox

Chinese dish recipes for you try
Dumplings (Jiao Zi饺子)

Dumplings (Jiao Zi饺子) are one of the most popular iconic foods of the Spring Festival, especially in northern China. Making and eating dumplings is an important activity for most families on New Year’s Eve.

One of the most vivid memories for most Chinese people is that of family members gathered together, wrapping and eating dumplings while enjoying the Spring Festival Gala on television.

Now, we are going to show you how to make dumplings.

The video is produced by ZHANG Guangrong, the CI teacher of University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Dumpling making video

You can download the dumpling recipe here.

Sichuan Spicy Tofu

Chinese calligraphy of couplets(Chun Lian 春联)

Couplets (Dui Lian 对联) are a form of Chinese calligraphy and are an important part of the Spring Festival celebrations. Couplets convey good wishes in a kind of verse form.

Spring Festival couplets (Chun Lian春联) are written with brush and ink on red paper which is then pasted on to door posts and lintels to convey New Year blessings.

Now, we are going to watch a short video where PEI Yiduo, the primary school student of Experimental School Affiliated to Capital Normal University will show you how to write spring couplets.

Brush painting is the traditional art form of China.  Follow the step by step video by MENG Fanui, Confucius Institute teacher at UWTSD.