Happy Year of the Loong

The 龙 Lóng (or Loong / Chinese Dragon) has just arrived at Queen’s!

What an exciting day to welcome the auspicious 龙 Lóng (or Loong / Chinese Dragon) to Queen’s One Elmwood on Thursday 8th February, regardless of the blustery weather (which was said to be accompanying the Loong)!

Dragon Dance performed by QUB Success Lion Dance Club at One Elmwood social space.

Over 60 staff and student representatives from a range of diverse cultural backgrounds celebrated the launch of Year of The Chinese Dragon programme, jointly organised by the Language Centre, iRISE Staff Network, Student Experience Team, The Graduate School, Chinese Students and Scholars Association, supported by Diversity, Inclusion and Staff Wellbeing Unit, and partially sponsored by the QUB Annual Fund.

Professor Margaret Topping, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, welcomed the value of contact between different languages and cultures for the benefit of enhanced mutual respect through intercultural exchange.

Professor Margaret Topping, PVC (Global Engagement), delivered a welcome speech to the audience.

We wish that this celebration programme on the Year of The Chinese Dragon, as part of our Celebrating Cultural Diversity at Queen’s scheme, will make a contribution to the multicultural campus development, which sees differences as strength to foster an environment of open-mindedness and acceptance.

The Launch event featured student/alumni performances including guzheng music and classical dance, QUB Staff Wellbeing Choir’s singing of both Chinese and local songs, and the bustling and exciting Dragon Dance inside One Elmwood, followed by an interactive CNY Fair with cultural displays.

The CNY celebration programme includes a three-week-long events and it welcomes all students and staff members to choose their favourate ones to attend in the coming two weeks. For full programme and registration links, please visit CCP2024 Homepage.

More photos will be added to our FB account and if you wish to share yours with us, please attach them via the Comment box below, or click the link for multiple uploading

Spring Festival Season Starts

The Start of Spring (立春) falls on Sunday 4th Feb according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which well announces the arrival of Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) celebration in China and elsewhere.

Spring Festival Gala

On Saturday 3rd Feb, the Chinese Students’ Society presented a fabulous Gala of performances to entertain not only QUB students and staff members, but also their families and local communities, with an intoxicating atmosphere that brought people together, no matter what cultural backgrounds they belong to, for a bustling night at the Mandela Hall, One Elmwood.

Culture Talk

The success of the Spring Festival Gala has extended its inviting arms to welcome more audience to join in a great variety of cultural events that are to come, with a culture talk presented by Dr Ibrar Bhatt and Heng WANG on their research reflections on Chinese Muslim Heritage Literacy, which is scheduled between 3 pm and 4:30 pm on Monday, 05/02, at the Auditorium, McClay Library. The talk will also include a display of notable pieces of traditional art collected during fieldwork. QUB colleagues and students are welcome to attend this joint event organised by the Centre for Language Education Research and The Language Centre.

To attend this event, please register via the link or scanning the QR code.

Online Exhibitions

We are also pleased to announce the start of our online exhibitions – Drawing The Dragon Competition and ArtEast Exhibition from Sunday 04/02. The audience are more than welcome to leave your comments to the artworks and share their thoughts in line with the themes.

More Celebrations

Last but not least, we are would like to remind that there are two more big celebrations lined up for this week – The Festival of Chinese New Year hosted by the Graduate School on Wednesday and CNY Launch Day with Interactive Fair on Thursday in One Elmwood. Places are limited so advance bookings are required.

Laba Festival & CNY 2024

Happy Laba Festival (腊八节 Làbā jié) – Have you had Laba congee yet?

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, is often seen as the signal of the arrival of the Chinese New Year (aka. Spring Festival 春节 Chūn jié in China).

Laba congee cooked | Image@LiangWANG

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.

With the Laba Festival arriving today on 18th January this year, one can be certain that the Chinese New Year – Year of the Dragon (龙年 Lóngnián) starting from 10th February, is just around the corner.

Call for CNY participation

While we are busy preparing for the CNY2024 Programme, we would like to invite you to join us in a few activities that can bring the celebrative elements together. The following calls for participation are totally voluntary and you are welcome to attend one or all, as long as you feel like relevant and meaningful.

Drawing the Dragon Competition
“龙年涂龙”比赛

This event is for all those who currently reside in Belfast and NI.

Chinese Artefacts Collection|
龙年春节中国工艺品展征集

This event is for QUB students and staff members who have a collection of Chinese artefacts at hand.

Volunteering for CNY Events
春节活动志愿者招募

This event is for staff and students at Queen’s to volunteer at our series of events such as the CNY Gala, CNY Interactive Fair, Culture Workshops, etc.

CNY and I at QUB
我在女王过春节

This activity is for those graduates and staff members who have left QUB and current students and staff members.

We would like to thank you for your support and look forward to welcoming you to join our celebrations that are to come soon. Stay tuned!

Drawing the Dragon Competition

To celebrate the upcoming Year of the [Chinese] Dragon, commencing on Saturday, February 10, 2024, we extend a warm invitation to participate in our Drawing Competition centered around the theme of of the [Chinese] Dragon (Chinese character: 龙 (simplified) / 龍 (traditional), pronounced as lóng, similar to ‘long’, also coined in English as ‘loong’).

Beyond its legendary significance in Chinese culture and historical representation as an auspicious symbol wielded by imperial power, the Dragon has evolved into a national totem, symbolizing the offspring of the Chinese nation. Its influence has also extended to neighboring countries such as Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and more.

We cordially invite Queen’s students, staff members, their families, and the local communities to participate in this drawing competition, an opportunity to express your imaginative interpretation of this mythical creature through contemporary artistic mediums.

Participants are encouraged to employ diverse drawing styles and mediums (e.g., sketching, oils, watercolor, sculpture, etc.) as long as they effectively convey your perceptions of 龙/龍 within your own cultural context or Chinese culture. We welcome authentic forms and techniques of presentation, excluding AI-related works.

The competition will close on Sunday 4th Feb, and a Drawing the Dragon session for QUB students, organised by the Student Experience Team, will take place on Friday 2nd Feb.

Submissions should consist of one drawing per participant, saved as an electronic copy (JEPG/JPG/PNG format, no exceeding 2MB). Please submit your artwork via the provided submission form, accompanied by a brief bio, including your name, status (e.g., educational/professional background), and a concise description of your illustration.

We look forward to witnessing your creative expressions!

More events

For more upcoming events that celebrate Year of the Dragon on campus, please visit the home page Chinese Culture Programme 2024.

My Volunteering Experience

Happy International Volunteer Day! On this special occasion this year, we would like to invite you to join in our celebration with Xinxin, one of our proactive students who has had great volunteering (志愿 zhìyuàn) experience at Queen’s and else where.

Xinxin WANG (王心欣), a postgraduate from Queen’s Law School, has just successfully completed her Master of Law in International Commercial & Business Law this Winter 2023. She is from Tianjin, China. Before she came to Queen’s, she has had good working experience in China, focusing on accountancy and business advisory services.

Photo of Xinxin at CNY Celebration in 2023 at Queen’s University | Photo Credit: Liang Wang

Volunteering, hard work? Yes! And paid? No! That’s volunteering, but it makes me feel great and meaningful rather than seeking financial rewarding. It brings me a diverse feeling of life and to obtain satisfaction from helping others. There is a saying in Chinese, “与人玫瑰,手有余香 (yǔ rén méiguī shǒu yǒu yú xiāng).

What kind of volunteering experience have you had so far and how did you feel about such volunteering experiences?

In the celebration of the Chinese New Year (Year of the Rabbit) held by our University, I worked with other Chinese students and teachers as volunteers (志愿者 zhìyuànzhě), and I felt great that we could celebrate this most important Chinese festival together at Queen’s. This was my first time celebrating Chinese New Year away from my family. The wonderful experience released me from being overly homesick and helped me earn a sense of joyful reunion with my folks and friends at Queen’s as a big family.

In the ‘One Young World 2023 Belfast’ event, which was a big celebration for the world’s youth leaders in politics, journalism, commercial area, sports and so on, I was the helper for the opening ceremony and workshops. As a volunteer, I could have the opportunity to meet figures who are successful and influential in various industries. I felt grateful that I could have the opportunity to communicate with the organisers and speakers who inspired me with their stories and experiences in different commercial areas, which broadened my horizons and expanded my network with people from different cultural backgrounds. When I received the “Thank You Event” invitation from the organising committee and an invitation to be a referral for a friend in her volunteering work application last week, I felt warm and touched because my efforts and kindness are highly recognised, which also could build my confidence about the future.

In sport events like the Antrim Coast Half Marathon 2023 and 3K & 5K Running, I assisted with registration and passing waters to athletes during running and I was encouraged by their spirits and enthusiasm towards sports and life.

In the past, I also worked as a volunteer in many events in China, like helping with delivering food and nucleic acid amplification tests during the COVID-19 blocking period; helping in Beijing Olympic Games 2008 and tour guide of Tianjin Museum in 2006. From my volunteering experience, I became more and more knowledgeable and collaborative and made many friends.

What was the value of volunteering experience to you?

To me, the meaning of volunteering experience is far more than finding a paid work, especially when I study and live abroad, which offers me a sense of belonging and helps to expand my network with diverse team and people with different occupations and cultural backgrounds. More importantly, I could have a chance to know better about the ways of working in my current capacity, which could allow me a quickly adapt to the working environment in the future.

What message would you like to pass on to like-minded people looking for volunteering opportunities?

If you also want to practice in the real world, no matter what your expertise or employability skill are, please do not hesitate to seize the volunteering opportunity, and go for it!

Call for Volunteering for CNY Celebrations

Happy International Volunteer Day (05/12)!

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.

Happy UN Chinese Language Day

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.

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,它很古老,古老到那刻在骨头上的文字里都找不到 它的起源;

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;

这,便是中国话,

一个古老的 东方神话!

中国话,

是如诗如画的表达,

“树索索而摇枝,马得得而驰骋”

——哪一种语言  

有 如此逼真的描摹?

“落霞与孤鹜齐飞,秋水 共长天一色”

——哪一种语言  

能说出如此图画般的美丽?

“春江潮水连海平,海上明月共潮生⋯⋯”

——哪一种语言 能有 如此动听的节律?

“我失骄阳君失柳,杨柳轻扬直上重霄九”

——哪一种语言

能一语译透你丰厚的含义?

中国话 是中国人

心灵深处的吐纳。

是屈原的长叹 ,项羽的啸吼

是李白的浪漫 ,杜甫的讥讽,

是“五四”前夜,

李大钊在拊掌欢呼

《庶民的胜利》,

是面对敌人的屠刀,

鲁迅在指斥《无声的中国》,

是迎着特务的枪弹,

闻一多拍案而起,弘扬正义!

是礼炮声中毛泽东庄严宣告:民族 站起!

那黄河的不羁和刚强,是中国话!

那长江的奔放和潇洒,是中国话!

那大山的雄武,高原的粗犷,是中国话!

那江南的温柔,水乡的秀雅,是中国话!

听,中国话正在通过我的喉头在联合国的讲台上响起

–那么亲切,优美,

—那么有力,伟大!

中国话 你属于一个伟大的民族,

一个朝阳升腾的天地!

我爱你,我们的 中国话!!!

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!

Chinese language

is an expression like poetry and painting.

‘The trees rustle and shake their branches, The horses gallop and run freely.’

–which language 

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!

Holi: A Festival of Colours and Joy

The Cultural Diversity at Queen’s programme not only welcomes international students and staff members introduce their own cultures, but also encourages them to share their intercultural experience through this blog channel. Below is what GAO Ying, a Chinese student from Management School, told us her interesting experience of being invited to the Holi Festival celebration just a couple of days before the festival starts today, 8th March (also the International Women’s Day).

Happy Holi 2023 - GaoYing & her friends
Happy Holi 2023 – GaoYing & her friends | Image@GAOYing

What did you know about this Holi Festival?

Well, actually before I was invited I knew little of it. Since I started my life at Queen’s I have made friends with a lot of international students, including Indians, many of whom are also my classmates. I have learned from them (and Google) that the colourful Holi festival is Indians’ celebration of the triumph of good over evil and the destruction of Holika, the banshee. It is also the joyous day when the Holi Festival begins with singing and dancing throughout not only India but also the world along with the diaspora. At the same time, it also represents the end of the monotonous colour of winter, followed by the spring flowers.

This year Holi falls on the 8th March, but it’s celebrated a bit earlier on the 5th March, which is a Sunday, so as to encourage more students to join.

What was your Holi experience and the joy of it?

Before I went, I was told by my best friend Parvin, who is a lovely Indian girl, that I’d better wear a white T-shirt because people would use coloured powder throwing to each other and into the air to celebrate Holi. After getting the ticket through an app, I went together with my friends to the Botanic Inn, which is a bar near Queen’s. I was quite eager to taste the new culture and would also be keen to meet some new friends at the event.

The celebration was arranged outdoors and everybody looked so excited. There was a DJ from Dublin who was invited here for music production. With energetic music, my Indian classmates introduced me to their friends then we all danced together. They taught me some Indian dancing steps and movements, some of which were actually from the daily actions of Indian labourers, such as grinding, stirring or making naan bread. We laughed, held each other’s hands and danced to the music, laughing out loud. It was so much fun with relaxing time. Of course, we all had colours on our faces and our bodies – no one could escape! I felt so happy that I should have another chance to know more about them.

What has been your overall student life experience with Queen’s so far?

Before I arrived at Queen’s, I had already heard from its media and social media like WeChat that Queen’s is a beautiful university with international students from many different cultures, which impressed me a lot.

When I came here, I enjoyed some local celebrations such as Halloween and Christmas, which was great because they gave a quite authentic feel. But the first large cultural event I was seriously engaged with was to attend as a student volunteer for the ArtEast Exhibition at the Ulster Museum, as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration programme at Queen’s. I was really proud of being able to help with promoting my own culture to visitors from other cultures. Now, through the Holi celebration I started to explore more other cultures which were distant to me originally. I really appreciate Queen’s multicultural environment, within which I have already started to harvest happiness, friendship, and a heart full of love.

I certainly have enjoyed my colourful life here and would like to encourage my friends, Chinese and international, to live our lives together in a more interactive and interesting way while studying at Queen’s.

We also thank GAO Ying for kindly sharing her Instagram account with us, which includes a video clip of their Holi Celebration! You are welcome to share your thoughts and comments with us in the reply box below or with Ying on her social media.

More cultural events updated

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!

More information and registration

Click below for registration and viewing the full programme

Tasting the Rabbit

Interactive Chinese Cultural Display and Demo

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.

Timeline

§ 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.