How expats celebrated Chinese Spring Festival in 2015

Updated: 2015-03-14 08:11

By Xu Lin, Yang Yang and Xu Fan(China Daily)

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How expats celebrated Chinese Spring Festival in 2015

Mehrdad Tawakoli, 43, an Iranian businessman in Beijing, enjoys Spring Festival in China and is preparing for the upcoming Iranian New Year.[Photo provided to]

Spring Festival is the time for Chinese to reunite with their families. How do foreigners in China celebrate the longest holiday of the year? Some foreigners from around the globe shared their stories with China Daily.
Tavakoli, his wife and 13-year-old daughter usually make dumplings during Spring Festival and enjoy spending time with each other. Last year, they visited the 798 Art Zone in Beijing and toured Tianjin, which is only half-an-hour away from Beijing by high-speed rail. Tavakoli's daughter likes setting off firecrackers. In Iran, firecrackers are used at weddings.

Many people leave Beijing and return to their hometowns during Spring Festival, but Tavakoli prefers the city during non-holiday times when it's bustling. "I like the part of Chinese culture that people respect their elders. It's the same in Iranian culture," he says.

Nowruz, the Persian or Iranian New Year, which marks the beginning of the year in the Iranian calendar, is celebrated on March 21 in Iran. Like Chinese, Iranians clean their homes, dress up in nice clothes, give money to younger members of the family and visit elders during the festival.

In Beijing, Tavakoli and his family usually celebrate the country's new year with other Iranians, eat at an Iranian restaurant, chat and dance.

Tavakoli works in Beijing and has lived in the city for about three years. Before moving to China, Tavakoli didn't speak any Mandarin but was familiar with the country because his wife's brother is married to a Chinese woman.

"It's difficult for me to learn Chinese, but I have to because I'm living here right now. All Chinese people are my teachers," he says.

Tavakoli and his family are all learning Chinese. He spends two or three hours every day studying the language and watches Chinese movies with his wife and daughter at night. He likes Chinese celebrities such as Jackie Chan and Fan Bingbing.

"I'm used to my life in China. I like to chat with Chinese people. I also like Chinese culture and cuisine, such as Beijing roast duck," he says.

Tavakoli and his family have many Chinese friends, and they visit each other's homes from time to time.

He is interested in learning more about Chinese culture, kung fu and teas such as jasmine and oolong. Like Chinese, he says, Iranians love drinking red tea, but Iranians usually add sugar to it.

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