The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


龙行龘龘 (Dragon Walk)

Staffer takes trip to China during Lunar New Year

This Feb 10 rings in the Year of the Dragon for the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Every 12 months, one of 12 zodiac animals takes precedence and the Year of the Dragon signifies changes ahead. 

A lot of fortune and auspiciousness is associated around the weeks before and after the festival, so it’s a pretty big deal to spend it with your family.  

It’s projected that nine billion trips are made around the world during the days surrounding the Lunar New Year celebration and more than $100 billion USD will be spent around the holiday for festivities. 

With COVID-19 subsiding, my family decided to celebrate with our family in Beijing for two weeks. Below is what my family and I did the first few days leading up to New Year’s.


Feb 6

We landed at the Beijing Capital International Airport at 5:30 pm, and getting out of Chinese customs felt faster than the TSA at O’hare. Happy to be here, we raced towards our family with uncontainable excitement.

Waiting for us at home were some traditional New Year’s treats from Dao Xiang Cun, one of China’s Time- honored Brands. This title is reserved for culturally significant shops and Dao Xiang Cun’s rich, nostalgic flavor has never let me down.

Our table spread ranged from candied fried dough to sticky rice with red beans, and even hawthorn berry pudding. These snacks were so sought after that my aunt and uncle waited one and a half hours in line for them.  

A full tea table of traditional Chinese New Year snacks is set. All of these snacks come from Dao Xiang Cun, a Time-honored Brand that has been making them for over 200 years.

Bellies full, we went to sleep with a busy day ahead of us tomorrow!


Feb 7 

The 28th of the lunar calendar’s 12th month is one of the last days before people start heading home. Beijing itself is said to have 10 million of its 25 million-person population returning home to various provinces, so there’s rarely any traffic. 

Most importantly, a lot of small businesses were closing. Thus, we rushed to get ready for our big family portrait before the studio closed. The last time we took one, I was six years old, so this time it had to be good (my best justification for the four hours we spent at the salon).

The studio had us try two sets of outfits they had and did our makeup. All things said and done, it took us from 2 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. before we could head over to dinner.

A photo of me with my grandparents when I was 6 years old (top) and now 18 years old (bottom) during our family portrait. Can you spot the difference?

Feb 8

Jet lag was starting to wear off, so I was actually able to help make breakfast. I’ve come to realize I’m slow at peeling apples—as the youngest in the family, my grandparents and parents have always peeled apples for me, or I eat them with the peel. 

I went with my cousin to visit the Douyin headquarters, also known as TikTok in the United States. On the Chinese app, my cousin works as an augmented reality 3D artist to make cool filters. 

I wasn’t able to take pictures for security reasons, but it was actually a pretty pleasant tech space. Think of the PWC, with the gym and delicious snacks everywhere. 

My badge to get in, which was the only photo I took. Overall, the office space was charming with lots of TikTok logos everywhere.

What was really great was that there was a mall open to the public right under the TikTok building I was in. We had Dorayaki, the signature treat of cartoon robocat Doraemon, and Xicha, one of China’s most famous milk tea stores, while we waited for my cousin to finish work that day.

After eating a huge meal outside, we finally got to the real deal back at home — playing cards. It’s not a lot to buy in, but with many rounds, I was able to pull off a decent snack haul.


Feb 9 

Today is New Year’s Eve! In Chinese culture, you’re not allowed to make changes on New Year’s Day. Some believe it’s because it forebodes big changes in your life for the following year or you could also be sweeping away any fortune. Nonetheless, everything must be taken care of today including cleaning your house and doing laundry. 

With things looking good, we began putting up all the decorations in order to bring in luck to our household. 

Hanging up dragons for the Year of the Dragon on our main door. One of the many well wishes people say is to hope the Year of the Dragon is as smooth as a dragon flies across the sky.

For lunch, we ate a specially-pressed noodle outside called Helan noodles. They used to be hand-pressed before machines were introduced, but the flavor is still as great as ever. Paired with lamb skewers and Beibingyang (somewhat like Fanta), the textures and combinations were something to behold.

A fulfilling meal people from all walks of life come to enjoy. All together, the flavors of old and new complement each other well.

Going back, we made it in time for the national Chinese New Year Gala full of slapstick comedy and music for audiences of all ages. We’ll be eating dinner now so I’ll have to bid you farewell. Happy Lunar New Year’s! 

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