February 16, 2015. Ireland’s National Concert Hall was immersed in the enchanting atmosphere of the annual Spring Festival Gala, presented by the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland (UCD CII).
Irish President Michael D. Higgins with his wife Sabina, together with China’s Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Mr Xu Jianguo, and his wife Madam Li Ni, were among the audience of 1,200 gathered to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The Spring Festival Gala was comprised of two parts: the UCD CII Chinese performance, and a special guest appearance by the Beijing Red Poppy Ladies percussion band.
The show opened with a rendition of the classic Chinese song, Love, and the recent pop hit Little Apple, performed by university students and students from Jesus and Mary College taught by the UCD CII.
For their performance of the Chinese classic Mulan, the Red Poppy Ladies incorporated Chinese folk percussion music with contemporary music, to put a modern twist on this legendary Chinese story.
The audience was impressed by the Chinese language skills of the UCD CII students, and left enchanted by the story of the courageous heroine Mulan, who disguised herself as a man to join the army and save her father. The band’s striking performance spiced up the folk story.
The happy evening commenced with a grand plaque-awarding ceremony for UCD CII’s three new Confucius Classrooms. Ambassador Xu, Irish Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin and Deputy President of UCD Professor Mark Rogers presented the Confucius Classroom plaques to the Galway Education Centre, Jesus and Mary College, Goatstown and Our Lady’s School, Terenure. The UCD Confucius Institute has now established eight Confucius Classrooms in Ireland.
Since its establishment in September 2006, the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland has worked hard to promote bilateral exchange and collaboration as well as mutual understanding between China and Ireland.
At the end of the Gala, President Higgins congratulated the success of the show, and had pictures taken with the performers and students.
The Spring Festival Gala gives Irish people the opportunity to experience the wonders of Chinese culture first-hand, and it is one of the Institute’s best-loved and most-anticipated annual events.