There are several traditions people use to celebrate the longest holiday of the year, Chinese New Year. On New Years Eve, which will be on Jan. 24, there is a dinner where families will reunite over usually fish and dumplings. At midnight, fireworks are set off to drive away evil and obtain good luck. On Jan. 24 and 25, local Chinese restaurant Spicity and The Inn at Virginia Tech will be celebrating the Chinese New Year for students who cannot be home with their families.
Spicity is an authentic Chinese restaurant in Blacksburg that opened its doors in 2018 and has quickly become popular among the students at Virginia Tech and locals. This Friday, the restaurant will be decorated in festive red and gold Chinese decorations to symbolize good fortune, joy and good luck. The menu will be served as is with many authentic Chinese dishes such as teriyaki frog and sizzling squid. There are also many fish dishes, fried and steamed dumplings and spring rolls on the menu which are part of the seven lucky foods to eat during Chinese New Year.
“We have been open for over a year now and have been met with a lot of success! I am excited to see how the students can feel at home here for the Chinese New Year,” said owner Mindy Lin.
The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center will be holding its fourth annual Lunar New Year and Celebration on Jan. 25 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Latham Ballroom. Everyone is welcome to attend but must make a reservation prior to the event by calling 540-231-0120. The cost for this dinner is free for children ages 5 and under, $18.50 for children ages 6-12 and $29.99 for adults. The dinner will be set up as a buffet with dishes such as grilled turnip cakes, steamed buns, rice sticks and sweet rice cake.
As for the Hokies who live on campus or have a meal plan, Owens Food Court is partnering with the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at Virginia Tech to host a Lunar New Year Festival Saturday, Jan. 25, from 5 to 8 p.m. The cost for this dinner is $16.95 in cash or $8.47 flex at the door. Dinner will be served as an all-you-can-eat with many authentic dishes such as bao, dumplings, spring rolls and even shredded jellyfish. Owens will also be handing out traditional Lunar New Year hard candies. Of course there are still places to go to for Chinese New Year and this year the Blacksburg Baptist Church is hosting a Chinese Dumpling Party.
“To celebrate I will be attending a Chinese Dumpling Party held at the Blacksburg Baptist Church along with my Chinese Bible study group. The event is open to the public; people can bring desserts to share and there will be ingredients to make your own dumplings,” said senior communication studies major Esther Xiao.
Chinese New Year or Spring Festival falls on Jan. 25 this year. The date for the first day of this holiday is determined by the lunisolar Chinese calendar. However it always falls somewhere between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20. The festivities will begin on Jan. 25 and will end with the Lantern Festival on Feb. 8.
Every year an animal emphasizes this special holiday with this year being the “Year of the Rat.” The year of the rat occurs every 12 years in a cycle along with other symbolic animals such as the horse, sheep, monkey and chicken. The rat is the first animal in the Chinese zodiac and is seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Additionally, because of its strong reproductive capacity, married couples would pray to rats if they were struggling to conceive.
Holidays can be tough for some Hokies to spend without their families but luckily there are places in Blacksburg to celebrate the Chinese New Year so they won’t have to miss out on these special times.