BYU–Hawaii students from China share their experience about National Day and what it means to be Chinese and far from home during the national holiday.
National Day in China
Li Yueheng, a senior from Chengdu, China majoring in communications, said, "[We] celebrate the new China, which was established in 1949. [This] was a huge sacrifice for the country's establishment.
"Usually, this is the longest holiday for us. We have 7 days of no school and work. Now it is only 3 days. Everyone would spend time with family and friends. We have similarities for New Year's, such as setting off fireworks and many celebrities would sing and show entertainment for the holiday.
"It is a touching moment, especially this day in this year. This year they had a military parade so the Chinese people overseas can feel proud. Our country is becoming stronger and people's quality of life [is becoming] better."
The president of the BYUH China Chapter, Luo Xi, a sophomore from China majoring in TESOL, said, "China National Day is to celebrate when the new China first started because there was a lot of wars and occupation [when Japan occupied] China during World War II, but now it became established again in 1949. October 1 is a big day for the Chinese people and those abroad."
Yang Gaoyang, a senior from Chengdu, China majoring in TESOL, said, "Chinese National Day is about China becoming a free country. Stores would close down for the entire week for people to celebrate the national holiday.
"In Chengdu, and other cities in the region, they do a flag-raising ceremony at 6 a.m., but I never attended the event because there are a ton of people waiting to see the flag ceremony.
"I think it is pretty cool to see the parade, although I do not know much about the Chinese military; however, I do know that the country is getting stronger and stronger and there are people who devoted their lives to protect this country to make our lives so much wonderful and stronger."
He Yizhan, a freshman from Qingdao, China majoring in computer science, said, "All the students in China get a week off. For me, I don't usually do anything particular besides hanging out with my family and watching the parades on TV."
What it means to be Chinese
"China is a country with a long history and rich culture,” said Yizhan. “As its citizens, we are blessed to inherit the traditions and the culture that we are very proud of. We will always remember who we truly are no matter where we are in this world. I surely missed my home country that day. And again, I was very proud of where I come from.”
Yueheng said, "Everyone thinks we are descendants of dragons, which means strong and unique. It is our responsibility to improve yourself and learn how to contribute your ability to society. Make the world better.
"I feel like the military parade is the courage of the Chinese people of the young generation. They represent China's future."
Far from home
Yuan Peng Hu, a freshman also from Chengdu, China majoring in English EIL, said, "It feels like I feel stronger because when I was a missionary I couldn't watch the parade during my mission, but this is my first time watching the parade of my country since my mission.
“I feel very proud of my country. The soldiers are disciplined and trained. The parade shows the soldiers’ determination and how to prepare if war is already coming.”
Feeling melancholic, Luo said, "Being far from home for the National Day is kind of sad because we usually celebrate and have a day off and visit different places in China when we have the National Day celebration.
"But here there is not much celebration, and we still have class and busy schedules, so it's kind of sad, but at the same time I feel happy for the country.”
There were no events during National Day at BYUH. However, Luo said, "The event was on weekdays so China Club didn't have any activities celebrating National Day, but a lot of our Chinese students posted [on social media] their gratitude and happiness about their feeling for the country. Some have watched the parade online and the flag-raising ceremony too."