Chinese New Year 2021 Celebration and COVID-19 Impact on Normalcy

The Year of the Ox
The Year of the Ox

“Unfortunately, given the circumstances, the Rhodes University Confucius Institute could not organise a celebration as they have in the past; but we can only hope that our adaptation to the COVID-19 healthcare protocols can make the best of the situation we are in. Even if the new year was not celebrated in ways we are used to, there were small ways to celebrate in small groups as many people have done”, said Liu.


New Year Shopping


“In China, people usually celebrate by eating dumplings, spring rolls and fish”, said Ms Zang Li, who is Chinese teaching assistant at Rhodes University. Zang went on to list the characteristics which people who are born in the Year of the Ox have. “People born in the Year of the Ox are often hard-working, patient, stable and helpful”.


Reunion Dinner


Normally the welcoming of the new year is filled with festivities, celebrations, fireworks, family and friend gatherings, and a lot of food! However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed all of this. Instead, we had to follow health protocols such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand sanitising to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection. All these restrictions changed the ways in which we gather and live our lives.


Lighting  Fireworks


Professor Liu admits that both teaching and learning were difficult during the pandemic. “I think online-learning was especially difficult for 1st year students as they could not easily adapt to the new ways of learning and effectively practise their Chinese”.


Confucius Institute at Rhodes University


“Online learning was difficult because some students could not participate due to their living environments, lack of motivation, self-teaching and connectivity issues”, adds Zang. 2020 brought challenges which many of us did not anticipate, and for many of us, it seems as if 2021 is a continuation of 2020. But hopefully, we can rest in the hope that the Year of the Ox will bring the change and normalcy that we are seeking.


Confucius Institute at Rhodes University

Source:  By Sacrée Kabeya

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