The date for the Chinese day was selected from Guyu (“Rain of Millet”), which is the 6th of 24 solar terms in the traditional East Asian calendars, to pay tribute to Cangjie. Cangjie is a very important figure in ancient China, claimed to be an official historian of the Yellow Emperor and the inventor of Chinese characters. Legend has it that he had four eyes and four pupils, and that when he invented the characters, the deities and ghosts cried and the sky rained millet. From then on, Chinese people celebrate the day Guyu in honour of Cangjie. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around April 20.The UN
On this occasion we provide this special edition to invite you to join us in celebrating the charm of the Chinese language – in its written form through calligraphy and spoken form through recitation.
SONG Yihui (宋一卉), a recently graduated doctoral student from School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, has a number of hobbies rooted in traditional Chinese culture, including calligraphy, classic dancing and Hanfu costume. Below she tells us how she has maintained her practice of Chinese calligraphy since childhood.
I first learned calligraphy when I was eight years old, probably because of my curiosity facilitated by my parents. At that time, I started from learning to write the basic strokes – horizontal and vertical, which required a lot of patience and perseverance. I was so envious of other fellows who could exercise their skillful hands freely. However, after learning Yan-style of calligraphy for three years when I wrote with more confidence, I had to put down my brush and switched my full attention to my study which became more demanding. It was not until in my college time that I picked up my brush again with my genuine passion for calligraphy. This flame of enthusiasm has been kept for my life in the UK. When I was packing up my luggage, I had no hesitation to include my beloved set of calligraphy treasures in the suitcase.
To me, calligraphy is a journey of time and space through the written form of our language, with which I could always conduct spiritual dialogues with our ancestors thousands of years ago.
Below is a selected collection of Yihui’s calligraphic works.
WEI Ziqing (魏子晴) is currently doing MA Interpreting at the School of Arts, English and Language. Among her many talents she has a strong passion for recitation. In the recent QUB Multilingual Poetry and Music Festival she contributed to the event by doing a Chinese poetry recitation – ‘The Chinese Language’. With her kind permission, we invite her to share with us her recitation.
To be honest, my performance on the day was not really as perfect as I thought. However, I found that at least three girls from the audience were moved to tears, to my great surprise. One of the girls later said to me that even though she could not understand the language, her heart was greatly touched by the sound of language and she couldn’t help shedding tears.
Below is the Ziqing’s Instagram post on her recitation, followed by the bilingual text versions.
有一种语言，它 很神秘，它蕴涵着一个民族上下几千年 悲喜交加的情感；
有一种语言，它很丰富，阴阳上去中 回荡着 慷慨激昂 倾诉着 温宛 缠绵；
——哪一种语言 能有 如此动听的节律？
The Chinese Language
There is a language – it is very mysterious and contains the emotional ups and downs of a nation for thousands of years;
There is a language – it is so ancient that its origin cannot be found in the characters engraved in bones;
There is a language – it is very rich, resonating with generosity and passion, warmth and tenderness in the alternation of Yin and Yang;
This is the Chinese language.
An ancient oriental myth!
is an expression like poetry and painting.
‘The trees rustle and shake their branches, The horses gallop and run freely.’
has such a vivid illustration?
“Rosy evening clouds and the lonely duck fly together; The autumn water shares the same colour with the sky.”
–which language can tell such picturesque beauty?
‘The spring tide of the river joins the sea, and the bright moon rises with the tide on the sea…’
–Which language can have such an enchanting rhythm?
“I’ve lost my sun, you’ve lost your willow, the willow lightly rises to the Ninth Heaven”
–what other language
Can translate the richness of your meaning in one word?
Chinese language is the breathing of the Chinese people’s soul.
It is the long sigh of Qu Yuan, the roar of Xiang Yu,
The romance of Li Bai, the irony of Du Fu.
It is Li Dazhao cheering and applauding
“The Victory of the Common People” on the eve of May Fourth Movement,
It is Lu Xun criticizing “The Silent China” in the face of enemy’s butcher’s knife,
It is Wen Yiduo rising up and promoting justice in the face of bullets from secret agents,
It is Mao Zedong solemnly declaring “The Chinese nation has stood up!” amidst the sound of salute.
The recklessness and fortitude of the Yellow River is Chinese language!
The unrestrained and boldness of the Yangtze River is Chinese language!
The magnificence of the mountains, the ruggedness of the plateau, is Chinese language!
The gentleness of the south of the Yangtze River, the elegance of the water town, is Chinese language!
Listen, the Chinese language is echoing through my voice on the podium of the United Nations
-So friendly, beautiful,
-So powerful, great!
Chinese language , you belong to a great nation, a world where the sun rises!
I love you, our Chinese language!
Sign up for a Chinese course
If you would like to learn more about the beauty of the Chinese language and are interested in attending a course, you are welcome to check our courses below and register as soon as you can. The cutting off date is rightly on Thursday 20 April, the UN Chinese Language Day! Don’t miss out!