By Courtney Morrison, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

Have you ever had the privilege of experiencing the Chinese Lunar New Year in China? I had the opportunity to do so through Semester at Sea and it was an experience I will never forget.


The first day our ship arrived in port, January 31, 2017, I was able to visit the Yu Gardens in the center of Shanghai which was during Chinese New Year. As we entered the sprawling marketplace full of vendors that surrounded the gardens, I was taken aback at how many Chinese people had come to the attractions to celebrate. From two month old babies to teenagers to senior citizens, it felt like everyone in Shanghai was in the Yu Gardens. All of the shop owners were out trying to sell souvenir items while the smells of cooking meats and dumplings filled the air. The occasional whiff of stinky tofu was not exactly pleasant, but added to the ambiance of China.

It was an amazing experience being able to be with other domestic travelers and and see all of the gardens lit up with decorations from the New Year. The massive decorations looked like floats but were lit up with hundreds of colorful lights around the main squares and also set up on the ancient temples. If anyone has the opportunity to visit China during their Lunar New Year, I would most definitely recommend it!