On February 9th, 2013, the entire staff of the Confucius Institute at University College Dublin gathered together on Chinese New Year’s Eve to ring in the New Year of the Snake, making delicious dumplings, watching the Spring Festival TV Show on the big screen, enjoying Chinese cuisine and singing songs.
The Spring Festival TV Show kicked off at twelve o’clock noon Irish time, and the more than 20 staff loved the feeling, just like being back in their own homes in China, making dumplings while watching the show on TV with their family and friends. As evening approached, UCD Confucius Institute director Professor Wang Liming arrived to wish New Year to everyone. Despite the many years Prof Wang has spent away from home, he still did not forget the Chinese New Year traditions, and delighted the teacher’s children by specially preparing little red envelopes with money for them. The gleeful kids then showed off their many talents, singing and dancing to the amusement of all the staff.
After the Spring Festival TV show finished, the KTV kicked off, with Prof Wang Liming giving a stirring rendition of “I Have a Date With The Grasslands”. Two overseas volunteer teachers, who have been working at the Institute for some time, Kong Lingde and Geng Chongyang, were next up, giving a soulful interpretation of “Intimate Love” warming the hearts of all the gathered. Following this, the teachers were queuing up to get the microphone, having a singing competition well into the night. Two passing students from the School of Engineering and the School of Business Institute were even enticed in by the atmosphere and laughter. They were delighted to participate in a traditional Chinese Spring Festival, a rare cultural experience, and especially enjoyed their first time eating authentic Chinese cuisine, and seeing the bustling Chinese New Year party in full swing. They said that they should pay more attention to the Confucius Institute in future, and expressed the wish to be take part in the organization of the teaching and cultural activities of the Confucius Institute.
Chinese New Year is the most important traditional festival in China, and is also well renowned overseas. Since the start of February, the Confucius Institute, in line with the aim to promote Chinese language education and the promotion of cultural exchanges, has been making extra efforts to help Irish students better understand the traditional culture of the Chinese New Year. These involved specially organised cultural activities in schools, bringing the atmosphere of the Spring Festival into their classrooms, including Chinese cuisine classes where students got to make their own dumplings, paper cutting classes where students got to bring their work home to their families, making Chinese greeting cards and many more. There was a very warm response from the students and schools, and the Institute will further expand these activities in the future.