On February 19, 2019, the new semester began with the celebration of the Lantern Festival. Yenching Academy Scholars gathered to enjoy food, write calligraphy, make lanterns, and celebrate the festival together.
Tasting delicious foods
Chinese students had begun preparing for this event even before returning to school. At the beginning of the semester, they brought a myriad of home-cooked foods to share with their international classmates for the Lantern Festival. For example, Li Jiaxin from Inner Mongolia brought authentic lamb chops, Liu Yuzhen from Liaoning brought homemade preserved pear, and Gao Zihao from Sichuan brought characteristic meat, as well as dried fruits, Babao tea, bacon, and specialty rice wines.
After tasting a range of China's gastronomic delights, the evening culminated when the delicious Yuan Xiao (glutinous rice ball) desserts finally appeared. This dessert, traditionally eaten during the Lantern festival under a full moon, represents the reunion of families. For Yenching Scholars, it was special to celebrate this holiday with their newfound family.
With the start of the lunar New Year, it is custom to hang new paper calligraphy around the home. Chinese students demonstrated to their international classmates how to write the "Fu" character in various fonts.
After the demonstration, international students practiced painting the symbolic character "Fu”, which represents everyone's hopes and wishes for a lucky and happy new year.
Using paint brushes, the students decorated their homemade lanterns and created their own designs. With many luminescent lanterns decorated and lit, the light and shadows made by the swaying lanterns was reminiscent of ancient times in China when festival-goers could experience the prosperity and beauty of the “lantern lights”.
Under a bright full moon and with decorated lanterns in hand, the students began playing the traditional riddle games. The students participated in quizzes together and deepened their understanding of Chinese traditional culture and customs.
In the laughter and joy of the evening, the celebration of Yenching Academy's 2019 Lantern Festival ended on a successful note. After Chinese and international students had gathered together to taste food, learn calligraphy, and light up lanterns, the community inevitably drew closer as everyone felt and experienced the unique charm of Chinese traditional culture.