The past month or so has not only been about studying and preparing for finals, but also about enjoying different holidays. Here’s some information about what winter holidays are like in Taiwan.

Christmas isn’t as widely celebrated in Taiwan, you only hear special music occasionally or see someone put up a tree, but it is still more commonly celebrated in Christian communities as well as around the university where there are more international students. I attended Christmas special event as part of the NTU Navigators. It was an enjoyable experience and a nice way for everyone in the community to come together and enjoy some songs and games. The group even performed a play about two sons who wanted to become artists. Only one of them could afford to do so, and the other had to give up his dreams and work long shifts just to cover the other’s tuition.

New Year’s is celebrated just as widely here as in the United States. All of the people who are in a festive mood travel to watch the fireworks display at Taipei 101. It is one of the tallest buildings in the world and offers an amazing show for everyone to enjoy. The metro usually closes at around midnight, but it stays open for the very first few hours of the year since the city is still filled with activity and celebration. As the crowd disperses from watching the fireworks, some of them travel home while others continue the special night. We had classes off that Monday since New Year’s happened to be over a weekend.

Chinese New Year’s is different since it is based on the traditional Chinese calendar. Unfortunately, I will be back in the US before this special holiday since it happens to be later in the Gregorian calendar. Chinese New Year’s in Taipei in my experience has been a time when many people go home for a few days to join their larger families. The traditional home in the Chinese culture consists of a large household, and this holiday serves a good reminder of old customs. Families get together to celebrate and hope for a good year as well as experience life together as a large group.