Different New Year’s Traditions
Feroz Basheer from India (known as 麦克 in Chinese) is a China expert. He not only speaks Chinese well but also knows much about Chinese culture and customs, and even some specific customs of Jinhua.
One year after graduating from university, Fezoz was hired by a company in Taiwan and was sent to work in Guangzhou. Because of the language barrier, he encountered many difficulties at first. “I had no choice but learning Chinese,” he recalls. Having no opportunity to systematically learn Chinese pinyin, characters, strokes, etc., Fezoz could only depend on his memory. Gradually, Fezoz began to speak Chinese more and more fluently and the inconveniences in his life and work disappeared.
Later, Fezoz moved to Ningbo. While working in Ningbo, he met and married a woman there. Five years ago, he was hired by Zhejiang Well Shine Industry & Trade Co., Ltd. as the general manager of the development department. He was also the team leader of international export sales. In 2015, because of his outstanding performance, Fezoz won the West Lake Friendship Award of Zhejiang Province (established by the provincial government for internationals who make prominent contributions to the economic and social development of Zhejiang).
“I like the environment in China, where people are efficient, transport is convenient, and the Internet speed is fast,” said Fezoz. Over his 18 years in China, he has witnessed the country’s high-speed development and great changes in Jinhua. Fezoz said that in recent years, not only have China’s large cities developed rapidly, but prefecture-level cities like Jinhua have also.
In India, the most important festival is India’s New Year, and different provinces of India have different New Year’s Days.
“My home is the province of Kerala in South India. The New Year’s Day of our province is on the day of spring equinox. On New Year’s Day, people make patterns and decorations with petals and rice on the ground. Family members wear traditional clothes and gather together, dancing and playing games. In addition, food is also an important part. We eat food, including a variety of fruit, rice, noodles, and snacks, from a large banana leaf. One person can have one leaf with over 20 kinds of food on it,” said Fezoz. The food on the banana leaf is similar to China’s family reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve, though Indian people eat the food at noon.
The New Year’s Day of Fezoz’s hometown is also a festival of lights. “On New Year’s Day, each family lights many oil lamps, which are symbols of hope, prosperity, and happiness. In my family, we light over 100 oil lamps.”
“We have many different New Year’s Days in India, so not all of the people go back to their hometown to celebrate the New Year’s Days of their own provinces. This is very different from China: when the Chinese New Year is coming, most people do everything they can to return home. Especially on the New Year’s Eve and in the first several days of the first month of the lunar year, there are few people on street and most of the shops are closed. I guess there is no other country which pays so much attention to the New Year Celebration,” Fezoz commented, happy with his life in China. (By Wu Junfei, translated by Jin Haiqiong, edited by Kendra Fiddler)