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
Making mooncakes (demo)
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:
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.
In our ‘International Tea Day‘ post, we asked what type of tea you would like to drink and there were two replies:
Personally, I’m not a tea person, lol, I think I like yogurt and milk more. In China, the younger generations may take bubble tea as their first choice right now. It may be my favorite drink too if I don’t consider calories or my body shape too much.
– Yang Liang
I love milk tea~
– shiyu wu
So, what is bubble tea, then?
Bubble Tea is the name given to the wide variety of refreshing flavoured fruit teas and milk teas served ice cold or piping hot with chewy tapioca balls that you suck up through a big fat straw!
In Chinese, it is widely known as 珍珠奶茶 (zhēnzhū nǎi chá). 珍珠 (zhēnzhū), originally meaning pearl, here refers to the pearl-shaped tapioca balls typically used in the recipe. 奶茶 (nǎi chá) means milk tea.
Today we’d like to invite Jie Rao (饶洁), one of our QUB alumni and fan of bubble/milk tea, to share her thoughts.
To be honest, I am one of the bubble girls as I believe drinking it will help me remove all the sorrows and worries, and make me feel relieved for the time being.
Jie Rao in front of a vending machine for drinks. Image@JieRao
In Northern Ireland as well as elsewhere in the UK, when people entertain their friends with a cup of tea, they mean to serve tea with milk and sugar. While this custom differs to the thousand-year-long tradition of tea-serving in China, a new type of tea drink, called bubble tea, or milk tea, has become a fashion among the young Chinese.
People see it, get it, post a photo of it and others see it.
Instead of drinking tea at home or in a tea house, young people nowadays enjoy grabbing a milk tea while hanging out with their friends or just for refreshment. One can very often see bubble tea shops or cafes on streets, with long queues of young faces. It is also trendy that people would like to show their first cup of bubble tea through their social media, partly because of the convenience of sharing function and partly due to the showing-off human nature.
Green tea with cheese and rock salt, Image@JieRao
In fact, bubble tea or milk tea is tea-based drink, very different to the original tea drinking. It tastes milky sweet. Of course, you can choose the ice (冰 bīng) and sugar level (甜度 tián dù) according to your preference. The fundamental difference is that bubble tea has essential toppings to choose, like pearl-sized tapioca (木薯 mùshǔ), coconut jelly (椰果 yē guǒ), pudding (布丁 bùdīng), red bean (红豆 hóng dòu), taro (芋圆 yùyuán) and so on. Some variants include adding cheese and fruits, and other kinds of tea drinks even goes without using milk.
Just a few days ago, I went to a popular shop named 茶颜悦色 (chá yán yuè sè), a brand based in Changsha, Hunan Province, and I was kept waiting for almost an hour due to its long queue and time for preparation. However, it was really worth the wait if one would enjoy watching the onsite making.
茶颜悦色 adapts from a Chinese phrase 察言观色 (chá yán guān sè) meaning ‘to observe one’s words and countenance’. In this brand:
茶 (chá, tea) has the same pronunciation as 察 (chá, to observe).
颜 (yán) pronounces the same as 言 (yán, speech).
悦 (yuè) means to please while 观 (guān) means to look, to observe.
色 (sè), with the basic meaning as colour, has its connotation as facial expressions or countenance.
The brand’s name carries the meaning that good tea drink makes one wearing a pleasant look.
Despite the popularity, people are warned against the sugar content of bubble tea and other ingredients like non-dairy creamer used in the drink that can cause potential health problem. I often order bubble tea with half sugar (半糖 bàn táng) or light sugar (微糖 wēi táng). How would you like your bubble tea prepared?
We look forward to hearing your stories of bubble tea drink in the box below.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Cha or Tea? This is not a question in the Chinese context – it’s 茶 (chá) officially, while te (tea) is a dialect from southeast coastal areas like Fujian and Taiwan. So 茶 (chá) exported alongside the ancient silk road (by land) has been called as cha or any of the variants in those areas whereas 茶 (chá) exportation by sea has been pronounced as tea.
Tea is the world’s most consumed drink, after water. It is believed that tea originated in northeast India, north Myanmar and southwest China, but the exact place where the plant first grew is not known. Tea has been with us for a long time. There is evidence that tea was consumed in China 5,000 years ago.
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.