Gauss-Telegraph: Chinese New Year

Chinese new year

by Eva Lahdo

On Tuesday (Feb. 5th, 2019) the Gauss-Haus was placed under the motto of the Chinese New Year, which is traditionally celebrated in China.

Officially, the event starts at 7:00 pm. However, some employees and volunteers were already getting together to prepare the premises and dinner as part of the cooking workshop. For each theme or culture that is presented, a suitable meal is prepared in advance. Particular care is taken to ensure that it is vegan food to avoid excluding people with certain ideologies. In keeping with the theme of China, the Chinese specialty “Wan Tan” (馄饨 – Húntún) was prepared. These are dumplings filled with bamboo, tofu and mushrooms.

On this evening, a video on the subject of Chinese New Year was played in the presentation room of the Gauss Haus in advance in order to greet the guests appropriately and to tune into the topic. In the background there was also Chinese pop music.

At the beginning of each event, there is a presentation about the Gauss Haus and a presentation on the weekly theme. The presentation is usually in German and English, so that all guests understand what it is about.

Before the presentation began, the rules of the Gauss Haus were introduced. It was mentioned that the Gauss Haus is not a place for racism, islamophobia, homophobia and sexism. The Gauss Haus attaches great importance to tolerance towards all people. Subsequently, some offers were presented, such as the weekly reading circle or the upcoming excursion to Göttingen, where you can participate. The Gauss Haus pursues the goal of building a bridge between science and culture.

During the main part of the presentation, the Chinese culture, especially the Chinese New Year was presented. One could learn many interesting things about Chinese culture, such as the Chinese zodiac system. The Chinese zodiac system also contains 12 zodiac signs, just like the European zodiac system. However, the Chinese Zodiac system has evolved over thousands of years, regardless of zodiac signs in other countries. The number 12 is based on observations of Jupiter by Chinese astronomers from over 2000 years ago. The Chinese Zodiac contains 12 zodiac signs, each representing different character traits.

The Chinese Spring Festival (春節 / 春节 – Chūnjié) is considered the most important traditional Chinese holiday. The New Year’s Day, which is calculated according to the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar, falls on a new moon between January 21st and February 21st. The Year of the Earth Pig began on February 5th, 2019 and lasts until January 24th, 2020. January 25th, 2020 marks the beginning of year of the Metal Rat.

Preparations for the New Year’s celebration begin well before its date, usually in two weeks in advance. In the People’s Republic of China, the New Year comprises three public holidays, but traditionally it lasts fifteen days, and usually people take five to eight days off. The celebrations end on the 15th day of the New Year with the Lantern Festival. The New Year is celebrated with fireworks, dragon and lion dances and is typically accompanied by mahjong (麻将 – Májiàng) games.

There are certain actions that in this time are either considered as bringing luck or misfortune. So touching the white spots of a Chinese lucky dog ​​(福 狗 – Fúgǒu) on New Year’s Eve should bring good luck all year round. The purchase of books during the festivities means bad luck because the word “book” is homophonic with the word “lose”.

After the presentation, people eat together. In the basement of the Gauss Haus there is the possibility to play foosball. At the same time, the international dance course starts at 8:30 pm. On this evening dance steps of Bachata and Salsa were learned.

Overall, it was a successful evening in Gauss Haus, as usual. Not only through the presentation you get to know other cultures, but also through the communication with the people you meet throughout the evening. In this house there is a certain dynamism that stimulates and connects people.

Note: You will find more pictures from the event here.