How Notre Dame International staff abroad celebrate the Chinese New Year

Author: Colleen Wilcox


Michael Pippenger, Vice President & Associate Provost for Internationalization, is pictured with Catherine Leung.

Notre Dame International staff at the Beijing Global Gateway and Hong Kong Global Center are preparing for the Chinese New Year, which falls on Saturday, January 25. The Chinese festival, initiating the year of the rat, is a major holiday in Greater China, but it’s also celebrated around the world. The rat symbolizes vitality and intelligence, according to the Chinese zodiac.

While the offices at the Beijing Global Gateway will be closed for the week, staff members discuss how they plan to celebrate the holiday, beyond the red decorations, fire crackers, and dumplings. In addition to their messages below, the team abroad recorded a special video message for the Notre Dame community.

Learn more about the Beijing Global Gateway and the Hong Kong Global Center


Jingyu Wang, executive director of the Beijing Global Gateway: “Hello friends and colleagues at Notre Dame! Happy Chinese New Year from China. I wish you a great Year of the Rat. For the Spring Festival last year, I took my parents to an island in Malaysia so they could bathe in the sun and in the sea. This year, my parents and I are driving to the warmest city in Sichuan Province, Panzhihua (meaning “cotton tree”), again chasing the sunlight. In this new year, I hope all the friends from Notre Dame, whether in the US or in China, are filled with sunshine in your hearts.”


Reagan Li, program coordinator of the Beijing Global Gateway: “The Chinese New Year celebration, usually referred to as the Spring Festival in mainland China, is that time of the year when family members gather and celebrate for several days. During the day before the new year starts, my family would decorate the house and make dumplings for dinner. After dinner, we would gather around and watch the Spring Festival Gala on TV. At some point in the evening, we would go out and find a place on the street to burn joss paper for our ancestors. The next several days of the Spring Festival are mainly about relatives visiting each other and eating tons of food every day.”


Catherine Leung, director of the Hong Kong Global Center: “Chinese New Year is the most important time for our family. During the New Year, we will make new year cakes, prepare red packets, decorate our home with flowers, perform Lion Dance and visit each other’s homes to celebrate and spend great time with our family.”


Originally published by Colleen Wilcox at on January 20, 2020.