The Language Centre is organising a Chinese New Year Celebration Information Session to mark the International Volunteer Day (05/12) on Monday 04/12 (13:00-15:00) at the Auditorium, McClay Library. If you are interested in what’s going to happen and how you can get involved, feel free to pop in and join us in the session.
Call for volunteers
As the Year of the Dragon (龙年春节) is arriving in Feb 2024, we are looking for talented students and staff members to volunteer for our Chinese New Year celebration at Queen’s. It could be in the form of a variety of cultural performances, or language/culture-related topics and skills, and is open to both Chinese-speaking and non-Chinese speaking volunteers.
If you would like to express your interest in volunteering for the preparation and delivery of the proposed events, feel free to scan the QR code, or click the Form URL below to submit your interest.
We also look forward to working with you in our future language and cultural events.
Language Centre Course Enrolment
The second enrolment for courses, including Chinese, to start in January 2024 has now been available online. Anyone wishing to learning Chinese can find relevant course timetable and registration information from The Language Centre Homepage.
Calling all QUB learners of Chinese for a Chinese Winter Camp (online)
The Beginning of Winter (立冬 Lìdōng) falls on Tuesday 7th November this year. Welcome, winter!
The Language Centre has received an invitation from Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT, 北京理工大学), which is one of our Queen’s partner universities in China, for all learners of Chinese at Queen’s to attend their ONLINE Chinese language programme in January 2024. Read on for the details:
Dear colleagues and friends,
Warm greetings from Beijing Institute of Technology!
Our Winter Program for Chinese Language and Culture is going to come！
There are both ON-CAMPUS (2-week) and ONLINE (2-week) programs available in this 2024 winter. HSK3 (Chinese level) is required for on-campus program.
On-campus programs: USD800/ person for partner university
Online program is also totally FREE and no number limit.
Jan 7–Jan 20, 2024 (on-campus/online program)
Nomination from partner university is necessary and sent before Nov 15th, 2023 for on-campus program and Dec 15th 2023 for online program.
As the Chinese proverb goes, ‘What Paradise is to the Heaven, Suzhou and Hangzhou are to the earthly urban (上有天堂，下有苏杭 shànɡ yǒu tiāntánɡ, xià yǒu Sū-Hánɡ)’. This blog post will give you a glance over Suzhou city (苏州) in Jiangsu province, following Jiangyue CHEN (陈江月), a QUB graduate in TESOL, who recently relocated to Shanghai (上海) for her new job and paid her first visit to its neighbouring city.
I set off from Shanghai at 9:00 in the morning and arrived in Suzhou in just half an hour by high-speed train (高铁 gāotiě).
Suzhou is a charming city in the southeast of China, famous for its long history, rich culture and exquisite ancient gardens. Suzhou has many attractions worth visiting, among which Hanshan Temple (寒山寺 Hánshān Sì), Pingjiang Road (平江路 Píngjiāng Lù) and Couple’s Garden (耦园 Ǒu Yuán) are three must-sees.
Hanshan Temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in China, dating back to the 6th century. It is named after a legendary monk and poet named Hanshan, who lived here with his friend Shide. Their poems are full of Zen wisdom and life humor, and are collected in the book “Cold Mountain Poems”. Hanshan Temple has a tranquil and elegant atmosphere, with various buildings such as the Mahavira Hall (大雄宝殿 Dà Xióng Bǎo Diàn), the Bell Tower and the Puming Pagoda. It also houses many precious relics and artworks, such as the Tang dynasty bronze Buddha, the Song dynasty stone carving of the Diamond Sutra, and the Ming dynasty wood carving of the Eighteen Arhats (十八罗汉 Shíbā Luóhàn). Hanshan Temple is famous for its bell ringing ceremony on New Year’s Eve, which attracts thousands of visitors every year to listen to the 108 strokes of the giant bell and pray for blessings.
Pingjiang Road is the most well-preserved historical street in Suzhou’s old city area, reflecting the style of the Tang and Song dynasties. It was an important grain storage and transport center in southern China during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Pingjiang Road is 1606 meters long, and was selected as one of the “Top Ten Historical Streets in China” in 2009. Along Pingjiang Road, there are many quaint shops and bars, selling various Suzhou specialties such as food, handicrafts, tea, etc. There are also many cultural celebrities’ former residences and historical sites, such as Sai Jinhua’s former residence, Zhang Xueliang’s former residence, Couple’s Garden, etc. Pingjiang Road has a beautiful night view when the lights are on. You can take a hand-pulled boat on the river and enjoy the scenery.
Couple’s Garden was originally named Shiyuan Garden, built in the late Qing dynasty by Shen Bingcheng, who changed its name to Couple’s Garden after he met his talented wife Yan Yonghua. They lived here for eight years in seclusion. Couple’s Garden is a good place for couples to visit, as well as for those who want to appreciate Suzhou gardens in a quiet environment. Couple’s Garden is a twin garden, with an east garden and a west garden. The east garden is the essence of Couple’s Garden, with magnificent yellow stone rockeries and “Three Friends of Winter” made of boxwood and privet trees. The west garden is small and exquisite, a good place for reading books. Couple’s Garden also has many details and cultural elements that show the love story of Shen and Yan, such as Chengqu Caotang Hall, Wusuyun Pavilion, Tingqin Pavilion, etc. Couple’s Garden is surrounded by water on three sides and connected to the street on one side. It also has a private pier where you can take a boat to explore the surrounding water town.
There are many more interesting places in Suzhou worth exploring. The Suzhou Museum is another must-see place on my list. However, it requires bookings at least one week in advance and I missed it. Never mind, I will save it for next time – not too long!
Besides these three attractions, Suzhou also has a lot of delicious food to offer. Suzhou cuisine is one of the eight major cuisines in China, featuring fresh ingredients, light taste and delicate appearance. Below are three dishes made of fresh water produces – I ordered and tasted the first two:
San-xia noodles (三虾面 Sān-xiā miàn), or Trinity of Shrimps style noodles, is a seasonal specialty in Suzhou. The name comes from the three parts of fresh water shrimps used in the serving: shrimp meat and shrimp roe and eggs. The noodles are topped with a generous amount of shrimps, as well as eggs, lard and scallions. The dish is served dry, with a clear broth on the side. The noodles are chewy and the shrimps are tender and fragrant.
Crab roe rice (蟹黄饭 Xièhuáng fàn) is also a seasonal delicacy that can only be enjoyed in autumn, when the hairy crabs are at their best. The rice is cooked with the roe and meat of the crabs, as well as some seasonings such as ginger, soy sauce and sugar. The rice is rich and creamy, with a strong crab flavor and aroma. The dish is usually served with vinegar and ginger shreds to balance the greasiness.
Drunken crab (醉蟹 zuì xiè) is a cold dish that is made by marinating raw hairy crabs in yellow rice alcohol, salt, sugar and spices for several days. The crabs are then refrigerated until they are ready to eat. The crabs are soft and juicy, with a hint of alcohol and spice. The dish is said to have health benefits such as nourishing the blood, clearing the heat and moistening the lungs. I hope to try this dish on a later visit.
In addition, I have enjoyed tasting various local snacks and drinks, as below. Hope you all get a chance to visit Suzhou and taste the difference one day.
Author: Jiangyue CHEN Editors: Isabella Souza McLaughlin, Liang WANG
Translating Age – Sharing experiences of being an older woman in a new country
This post is circulated on behalf of Professor Tess Maginess from School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, who are looking for older female participants of diverse cultural backgrounds, including those from the Chinese community to share their experiences of living in Northern Ireland. Any queries related to this project need to be directed to Professor Maginess (see contact information below).
4th May is the Youth Day in China, known as 五四青年节 (wǔsì qīngnián jié).
May (the) Fourthn. (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.
Today we invite you to join in this celebration with DENG Wei (邓维), a QUB graduate in Arts Management, who went back to China after graduation but now has returned to Belfast in pursuit her professional development in arts and cultural exchange through guzheng performance. She has performed guzheng widely on various occasions, both at Queen’s and beyond.
While she continues with her guzheng workshops at Queen’s she has now been invited to give performances at the City Hall, 2 Royal Ave, Belfast on Wednesdays from 11:00 to 18:30 pm.
Wei looks forward to welcoming anyone interested to go there for her scheduled performances, and more importantly, to have dialogues with her sharing their perspectives and practice of guzheng performance.
Wei is invited as a guest guzheng performer with WANG Xinxin for The Ballad of Mulan (《木兰辞》) at the Songs from Spring – Singing with Chinese Poetry concert on Saturday 6th May. Her next guzheng workshop at Queen’s will be on Tuesday 30th May, from 15:00 to 16:00, at the Auditorium, The McClay Library. It is a free session, but booking is required via the button below or scanning the QR code.
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.
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.
中国话 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!
Whilst people went out to the city centre for the St Patrick’s Day celebration (17th March), Mengjia, accompanied by her two friends, took the courage to perform guzheng music out there. Read on what Mengjia told us.
Tell us about you and your instrument
My name is QU Mengjia (屈梦佳) and I am a postgraduate student from China studying Master in Broadcast and Media Production at Queen’s University Belfast. I have been playing guzheng since the age of 6 and received my Grade 10 Guzheng Professional Certificate when I was 11 years old.
The guzheng is a kind of traditional Chinese string musical instrument that has had a history of over 2500 years. It first appeared in China during the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC) and became prominent during the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE).
Why did you want to play it on St Patrick’s Day?
I have had the idea of performing guzheng on the streets of Belfast since I came to study at Queen’s, because before I came to the UK I saw social media videos on Chinese students performing traditional Chinese arts overseas, and I wanted to do the same thing. I was particularly inspired to do this event after watching the Chinese New Year celebration this January, including guzheng performance on campus. Most of the audience were students and staff members, Chinese or not. I thought that I could help to do more by promoting guzheng performance in Belfast city center, where I could reach more people, both local and international, and introduce such an instrument through my performance. I chose St Patrick’s Day just because it was a great occasion to meet a large number of people in the downtown area as the parade started there.
How did you feel about your performance on the day?
Well, it was a pilot performance and I think this was the first guzheng performance ever done outdoors in the downtown Belfast area. I was quite excited to see many people around me. I have to say that the weather was so bad as it rained with gusty winds. We had to wait for the intervals when the rain stopped. I played a number of famous guzheng music such as Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai (aka China’s Romeo and Juliet), and with the help of my two friends, LI Jiaqi and WU Xiaoya, we managed to disseminate our performance information sheets, speaking to people passing by. I hope that I had introduced the beauty of the guzheng music and that would encourage greater appreciation for Chinese guzheng culture. Also, through sharing my passion for this traditional instrument, I hope to inspire others to explore and learn more about the diverse cultural traditions of our world.
Do you have any plans for the following up outdoor performances?
Not yet, as I need to complete my assignments first. But I would like to do so when the weather becomes nicer, ideally in the third semester when my courses all end and I can focus on my dissertation writing up, with guzheng performance as part of my social life. I also look forward to doing it on campus if there are suitable events that I can contribute to.
Finally, we would like to thank Mengjia for sharing her Instagram account with us, which includes a video clip of her performance on the day! You are welcome to share your thoughts and comments with us in the reply box below or with Ying on her social media.
The first half of the CNY celebrations went on extremely well, featuring the student-led Interactive Chinese Culture Displays and Demos, the CNY2023 Launch Event, and the art exhibitions both online and in-person. We would like to send our ‘thank-you’ to all of you who have contributed, participated in and helped with promotion. We hope that you have enjoyed yourselves.
In the following part of the CNY Programme, we continue to warmly welcome you to attend a series of culture talks, a fun time table tennis event and a guzheng introductory workshop. All QUB students and staff members are welcome!
Click below for registration and viewing the full programme
Date: Friday 20 January 2023 Time: 13:00 – 16:00 Venue: 1st Floor Social Space, The Graduate School
About the Event:
Some of the main activities will include Chinese way of traditional writing in calligraphy, performances of musical instruments such as guzheng, guqin, and skills of practising taiji, Chinese dance and traditional Chinese costumes, all of which enriches the interactive topics through live demonstrations and hands-on practice.
§ 13:00-13:15: Start and welcome
§ 13:15-13:30: Guzheng performance (DENG Wei)
§ 14:15-14:30: Taiji performance (DA Wenkai)
§ 15:00-15:10: Chinese classic dance (SONG Yihui)
This half-day event is free for all. Tea/coffee and refreshments (including a taste of Chinese traditional snacks) are provided. Booking is needed due to capacity. Please complete the registration form below.
As 2022 drew to an end, we wish everyone a happy and healthy 2023! We also would like to remind you that the Chinese New Year (CNY) – Year of the Rabbit – is fast approaching in three weeks’ time. How are you going to celebrate it?
CNY celebrations at Queen’s
We are pleased to let you know that the celebration programme at Queen’s has been underway, with a range of events to entertain all – students, staff members, as well as members of the public. You may find the CNY2023 Programme page via the link below and here are some activities for you to kick a start while more will be uploaded shortly.
In addition to our celebrations on campus, we would like to make you aware of the social celebration of Chinese New Year in Belfast, operated by Success Dragon and Lion Dance Association, a registered charity in Northern Ireland (Charity no. 105478), who had been supporting Queen’s celebrations before pandemic.
The Chinese New Year Celebration returns to the Ulster Hall Belfast on Sunday 22nd January 2023 celebrating the Year of Rabbit. Come to enjoy a day full of fun and joy, rich in Colours and Culture. With over 12 global dances and music not to be missed.
盛大的中國新年慶典再次重臨 Ulster Hall Belfast。 日期是一月廿二號星期日。超過十二個各式的民族表演包括舞龍舞獅，中國功夫和中國的傳統舞蹈表演等。請從速預訂門票！
Alan Lui, Master of The success Dragon & lion dance association
Please note that we are not involved in performances and ticket booking issues. All enquiries should be sent to the Association directly, following the contact information on the poster.