Paper Tiger Workshop

It is customary that Chinese households will do house decorations by putting paper crafts of folding or cutting on windows before the new year arrives. As the year to come is Tiger, we invited Zhuoya ZHANG, a master student majoring in Film from School of Arts, English and Languages to show and tell how to make paper tiger crafts.

The workshop is followed by a series of cultural events covering a wide range of topics.

All welcome!

Laba Festival and CNY 2022

Happy Laba Festival!

The Laba Festival (腊八节 làbā jié), a traditional Chinese festival on the 8th day of the 12th month (called 腊月 là yuè) in the lunar calendar, falls on today 10th January. It is often seen as the signal of the arrival of the Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival).

On the day, in many places across China, mainly the north, northwest and southeast, people cook and eat Laba congee (腊八粥 làbā zhōu), typically made of rice, mixed beans, various nuts and dried fruits, etc., all of which are believed to be good for health. Having Laba congee can keep one feel warm and spirited in the cold and wet weather.

Here are some examples of what some local Chinese families prepared. If you have cooked your own Laba congee, you are welcome to share your photos with us.

2022 CNY celebrations at Queen’s – calling for participation

This year the Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday 1st February, when the transition from Ox to Tiger takes place.

The Language Centre at Queen’s would like to take this opportunity to invite all our students, staff members, as well as members of the public, to join in our celebrations of the Year of the Tiger. As we have been continuously working hard to turn things around for a better future, we welcome mighty powers gathered by each and every one of you through the theme of Connectedness and Inclusion. The Chinese New Year is such an occasion we choose to celebrate cultural diversity, in which the Chinese community, together with the other ethnic groups, has done its best to embrace the challenges.

Image@JeanJing

To extend our reach to diverse communities and to ensure a more inclusive programme, we would like to invite you, students and staff, Chinese and non-Chinese, to share your passions through participation and to express your interest to help enrich our programme by considering contributing to one or more of the following options:

  • Cultural demo and performance – short recordings of various types of cultural demo and performances, including music, singing, dance, calligraphy, magic, martial arts, anticraft, and many more.
  • Culture forum and workshop/exhibition – live or recorded culture talks, workshops and exhibitions. The Chinese Culture Forum runs throughout the year and updates on a monthly basis.
  • Festival greeting and gratitude – send us textual, graphic, audio-visual messages that contain Chinese New Year greetings and gratitude on a personal or collective level.

For more information on culture talks, please click Chinese Culture Programme. To express your interest and discuss your potential form(s) of contribution, feel free to contact us by filling the Comment box below.

To share with us your intercultural experience and perspectives of a broader range of themes and topic, please consider joining our Chinese Language Interest Group as contributors.

Mooncake Festival

The Mooncake Festival (月饼节), officially known as Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) in China, has been widely used by people in some Asian countries.

Following last year’s celebration, we would like to welcome you again to join our online Mid-Autumn Festival culture programme which involves

  • A culture talk with quiz
  • Cultural performances
  • Making mooncakes (demo)
Festive greetings from the Language Centre with invitation

The event is jointly contributed by Queen’s Chinese staff, students and alumni. The event is scheduled between 1:00 and 2:00 pm on Tuesday 21st September – the Mid-Autumn Festival day. You are all very welcome to attend the session with the information and registration link below:

How to greet people on the day?

Normally people would greet each other by saying ‘Happy Mid-Autumn Festival’ 中秋节快乐 (Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè). However, in this special time of facing pandemic threat, we often wish people peaceful and healthy by adding 安康 (ānkāng) in addition to 快乐 (kuàilè), which becomes “中秋节快乐安康 (Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè ānkāng)”.

  • 中 (zhōng) – middle, centre
  • 秋 (qiū) – autumn
  • 中秋 (Zhōngqiū) – mid-Autumn
  • 节 (jié) – festival, day
  • 快乐 (kuàilè) – happy
  • 安康 (ānkāng) – peaceful and healthy

To learn more Chinese vocabulary and expressions in a structured way, you are welcome to attend one of our Chinese courses for non-specialist purposes. Click the link below to check for Mandarin Chinese course information.

Thoughts on Chinese Teachers’ Day

Happy Chinese Teachers’ Day! 中国教师节快乐!

On the arrival of the Chinese Teachers’ Day on 10th September, we are happy to invite Dr Hui Ma, who shifted between his roles of student and teacher, to send his festival thoughts.

My name is Hui Ma. I just received my doctorate degree in education at Queen’s University Belfast, specializing in teaching English as a second or foreign language.

My research interest is in language assessment and language education. Currently, I am working as postdoctoral research assistant in education at Queen’s. I also have recently received offers to work as lecturer in some key universities in China.

Graduation, Image@HuiMa

With 6 years’ experience of English teaching and working as a part-time student counsellor in a Chinese college, I had decided to pursuit the doctorate degree at Queen’s University Belfast in order to better qualify myself as an educator and researcher. During my years at Queen’s, while being a research student learning a lot from my supervisors, I also worked as part-time student assistant for the International Office to offer due support to international students, most of whom are Chinese students. Quite often, I was called as ‘Ma laoshi (lit. Ma teacher) when I was contacted with enquiries or thank-you messages. I am glad to have been helpful.

So, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely wish my teachers, home and abroad, and my fellow colleagues who are teachers and educators in China as well as elsewhere a happy and healthy life.

Language in use

If you are learning Chinese, one of the first few words you may have learned in class probably included 老师 (lǎoshī) when your language teacher established the relationship by telling you how to address them in the Chinese way. Later you will have learned another word 教师 (jiàoshī) when talking about profession. Both mean teacher but the former is used as appellation while the latter refers to the occupation. So you can address your teacher, regardless of their academic titles (lecturer, professor, teaching fellow, etc.), by calling their family name followed by 老师 (lǎoshī). If one’s a teacher, in filling forms when asked about their occupation, they need to write 教师 (jiàoshī).

Sign up for a Chinese class to learn more

Celebrating the Teachers’ Day

On this day, students often present flowers or cards to their teachers to thank them for their devotion and care. So, here’s our card to all teachers and also wish Dr Ma a great re-start of becoming a teacher when he returns to China.

Photo collection from QUB alumni who teach in China

If you have any thoughts to send to your teachers who mean a lot to your growth at Queen’s, feel free to share your Teachers’ Day messages in the box below. We would like to continue this topic until the World Teachers’ Day on 5th October.

Duanwu Festival

The Duanwu (Dragon Boat) Festival falls on June 14 this year.

Duanwu Festival, 端午节 (Duānwǔ jié) in Chinese, is also widely known as Dragon Boat Festival 龙舟节 (Lóngzhōu jié) in the rest of the world, as one of its celebrative events – dragon boat race – has become so popular in the world. However, like last year due to pandemic lockdown in the UK, we are still unable to watch dragon boat races or to have cultural workshops on campus.

The head of a dragon boat in River Lagan. Image@LiangWANG

If you would like to review how we celebrated it in the past, here are some snapshots with links to full albums (via the Language Centre Facebook).

2020 Culture Talk

2019 Interactive Culture Display

2018 Culture Talk and Workshop

This time, while we cannot get together again, we have invited some staff and students to show and tell what they have done to celebrate the festival – making and eating zongzi 粽子(zòngzi), a typical type of food made of glutinous rice with sweet (e.g. dates, red bean paste) or savoury (e.g. pork, salted egg yolk) fillings wrapped up by bamboo or reed leaves, as the photos shown below.

Vocabulary

  • 粽(子) zòng(zi) – zongzi
  • 糯米 nuò mǐ – glutinous rice; 糯 nuò – sticky and soft; 米 mǐ – rice
  • 粽叶 zòng yè – reed or bamboo leaves; 叶 yè – leaf
  • 竹 zhú – bamboo; 苇 wěi – reed
  • 枣 zǎo – date (fruit)
  • 豆沙 dòushā – red bean paste
  • 咸蛋黄 xián dànhuáng – salted egg yolk
  • 猪肉 zhūròu – pork
  • 绿豆糕 lǜdòu gāo – mung bean cake
  • 装饰 zhuāngshì – ornament, decoration

Greetings

In addition to the common festival greeting that you may say 快乐 kuàilè (happy), many Chinese people also choose to say 安康 ānkāng (peaceful and healthy) or 吉祥 jíxiáng (auspicious). This is because Duanwu Festival is considered having its origin from warding off diseases and illness mostly caused by the rising summer heat and humidity which invited the invasion of poisonous animals such as insects and reptiles. Therefore, you will be able to see people use a varied way of expressions:

  • 端午节快乐!Duānwǔ jié kuàilè! – Happy Duanwu Festival!
  • 端午节安康!Duānwǔ jié ānkāng! – Wish you a peaceful and healthy Duanwu Festival!
  • 端午节吉祥!Duānwǔ jié jíxiáng! – Wish you an auspicious Duanwu Festival!

However, outside overseas Chinese communities, if dragon boat races are the only form of celebrations, i.e. beyond the context of traditional Chinese Duanwu culture, then people would find it normal to just express a happy festive greeting.

  • 龙舟节快乐!Lóngzhōujié kuàilè! – Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

More to explore

A video of QUB students tasting zongzi and other snacks. Video source: QUB Management School Weibo

Have you done something memorable this Dragon Boat Festival? Tell us and share your stories in the comment box below.

An edible ‘landmark’ of Wuhan

Whilst it rained with ice balls in Northern Ireland only a few days ago, people in China have already turned to ice-creams for the cool taste. More popular than the tastes are perhaps the variety of shapes of ice-creams that resemble those local features and places of interest. Here’s what Xuewei YANG (杨雪薇), a QUB alumnus, brings to us.

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Happy Youth Day!

May the 4th be with you!

While many of you may be familiar with this pun-loaded greeting from the Star Wars, Chinese people, especially the youth, have their own special celebration on the day.

May (the) Fourth  n. (also 4 May, etc.) Chinese History (attributive) designating or relating to a demonstration held by students in Peking (Beijing) on 4 May 1919 to protest against the Chinese government’s failure to oppose the decision by the Versailles Peace Committee to allocate Germany’s former possessions in China to Japan; (also) designating the wider cultural and intellectual revolution in China for which this demonstration is generally regarded as having been a catalyst; esp. in May (the) Fourth Movement.

Oxford English Dictionary
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Happy Chinese Language Day

Calling all learners of Chinese

Language of Spring, the theme song of 2021 UN Chinese Language Day

In keeping with the themes of inclusivity and cultural exchange, the song was written as a collaboration between Chinese music producer Kelvin Ho, British author Robert Murray and Belgian composer Jean-Francois Maljean who wrote ‘Chime of the Dawn Bells’. It has been performed in Chinese by British artists Phoebe Haines and Freddie Benedict.

To hear this beautiful tune, subscribe to our channel on YouTube (Chinese Language Video Festival)

Chinese Language Festival Video (Youtube)

Don’t miss out the video competition taking place on the day! You can watch it via the Youtube link above. You can also view the Chinese website with many more details and videos via CCTV.


We would also like to invite you to join our culture talk on the topic of supporting international students, delivered by Dr Aisling O’Boyle and Dr Xuezi Han this Friday 23rd April 2021.

Click here for more details and registration.