Xīn Nián Kuài Lè!
Yesterday was officially the last day of the Chinese New Year. While the actual lunar New Year ’s Day was Feb. 10, celebrations last 15 days and start the day before.
The official government holiday (read: days off of work) was Feb. 9-15 , but the festivities last much longer. Last night, was known as the lantern festival and it marks the closing of these festivities and, for me, marked the end of my 12th week living and working in Haiyang, China.
Fun Fact: Haiyang is the sister city of Cranberry Township.
Don’t worry, as a near-lifelong resident of Cranberry I didn’t know that either until I started contemplating a two-year work assignment here (spoiler: I took it!).
Upon discovering this, I started reading up on the relationship between Cranberry and Haiyang. While I got some helpful information about what would be my new home, I became more and more confused as to what Cranberry and Haiyang had in common.
- Cranberry boasts a population of 29,000 residents, whereas Haiyang clocks in at an impressive 690,000 ren (mandarin for ‘people’).
- Haiyang is a seaside community with 230 km of coastline while Cranberry is landlocked.
- Cranberry is home to many companies in the technology industry while the main industries in Haiyang are fishing and tourism*.
From this information alone I could tell that Haiyang and Cranberry were vastly different, so I took to Wikipedia to find out just what exactly makes a sister city.
It turns out that sister cities are cooperative agreements between geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties. Now it starts to make more sense!
In population, geographic size and location, the two cities are vastly different. As far as politics go, China is a communist country—so that’s pretty distinct.
Additionally, the two cities are commercially linked. Haiyang is currently the site of a large scale construction project that one of the tech industry companies headquartered in Cranberry designed.
And as for the cultural ties, well, enter this blog.
My hope with this blog is to share with my native Cranberrians just what exactly a year in the life of their sister city is like (hint: it’s really frickin’ different!), and there is no time like the Year of the Snake to do so.