What It’s Like To Be Black In China During Chinese New Year
PUBLISHED: May 19, 2019
Chinese New Year comes around each year on February 5th. The festival and celebration signifies the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.
While native Chinese residents have their own ways to celebrate, expats are also able to experience the culture during the holiday.
Charis Tucker and Asia Harris shared their take on being black expats in China during the holiday.
Asia experienced her first festival in 2017. She spent time in both Hong Kong and Guangzhou, which is in the southern part of mainland China. Charis experienced her first Chinese New Year in 2016 in Shenzhen, also in the southern part of the mainland.
While both would agree that major cities become a ghost town due to locals traveling to their native villages, they were each able to make the most of their time off.
Charis recalls her experience for Travel Noire. “I’d only been in the country for about a month when CNY took place. I used the time off to explore two locations I’d seen in a travel booklet, Shenzhen Mangrove Ecological Park and Splendid China.” Charis took a local bus by simply showing the driver a picture of where she wanted to go. Luckily, a family on the bus understood where she wanted to go and informed her of when to get off.
“I confirmed with the bus attendant, said a quick prayer, and began to follow the family (and a host of other people) along a random trek across a street and through a seemingly back road until finally we’d made it.”
“This was where everyone was! There were scores of families enjoying the lush grounds while others walked along the water. As I walked around I noticed some people pointing and eagerly trying to get the attention of their other family/friends. I waved back at people who seemed excited at my presence and simply ignored those who took to pointing and laughing instead. I was enjoying the quiet time to reflect, until a family of three spotted me. The man shoved his camera at his wife and raced over to take a picture. Needless to say the child was not as excited and began screaming and flailing her arms. While the dad tried to calm the child down, I politely removed myself from the situation and tried to process what had just happened.”
While that particular interaction made her uncomfortable, Charis would still be willing to celebrate the holiday again.
Asia was able to spend the time off with her husband and her mother, who came to visit during the time.