It’s hard to believe I’ve been in China for more than 3 months already, and although it feels like we’ve only just finished with mid-term exams, the end-of-term exams are only one month away, after which I’ll be at the end of my first semester and will soon be returning home for the holiday. Unlike at home, the Winter holiday period here is not Christmas, but Chinese New Year, which is the most important Chinese festival. The literal translation from the Chinese 春节 chun jie is actually Spring Festival, and will fall on 10th February of 2013.
Some of the lessons in my textbook occasionally focus on some aspect of Chinese culture or history etc, for example the Water-splashing festival of the Dai ethnic minority in Yunnan, south China, or a short story from the Warring States period of China’s history. Recently, we studied a particularly…interesting story. There is a monk who comes to know that the flying mountain is on its way to land in a nearby village and he tries to warn the people to flee the village. Of course, no one believes him, who ever heard of a mountain that can fly? Getting increasingly worried about the approaching danger, he comes up with an idea when he sees a wedding procession taking place in the village. He takes away the newly-married bride, puts her onto his back and runs away; as he hoped, the townspeople all start running after him in anger. Eventually, he leads them far enough away from the village, in time for them all to see the mountain pass over them and land right over their village, crushing their houses beneath it, and realise that he just saved their lives. Interesting, no?