On the occasion of the Spring Festival in 2019, the Year of the Pig, a series of celebratory activities were held to welcome the new year at the Confucius Institute of the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), which was jointly established by our university. Traditional Chinese culture was integrated into these activities, which were themed “food”, “wine” and “tea”, thereby encapsulating the special role of the Confucius Institute at UC Davis in popularizing China’s extraordinary food culture.
1. Special Cultural Lecture: “Spring Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year”
The celebratory activities commenced with a speciallecture on the theme: “Spring Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year”. At the invitation of the Asia-Pacific University of California System Alliance, the Confucius Institute arranged this lecture as well as a knowledge quiz with prizes at the UC Davis School of Nursing in Sacramento (California’s capital) on February 4, Chinese New Year’s Eve. More than sixty nursing faculty members attended the lecture and everyone savored the joyous and peaceful atmosphere of this important traditional Chinese festival.
2. Lecture on food culture: "Chinese Traditional Festival Customs and Diet"
On February 8, the Confucius institute held another lecture in the series entitled "China Tastes”, called "Chinese Traditional Festival Customs and Diet" at International House Davis. The lecture focused on the festival customs as well as the cultural stories behind them, so as to enable attendees to develop a deeper appreciation of traditional Chinese culture.
3. Field Investigation on Tea Culture: "Chinese Tea and ChineseDim Sum"
On February 11, the Confucius Institute held a "The Taste of China" function about tea culture called "Chinese Tea and ChineseDim Sum" in the Yuehuang hotel in Sacramento. The activity included introducing the characteristics ofPu'ertea and chrysanthemum tea, as well as the six tea refreshments that are enjoyed with them. Attendees experienced the basic tea ceremony and sampled traditional Chinesedim sum. The Confucius Institute at the University of California, Davis is the first Confucius institute in the world that focuses on popularizing Chinese food culture. It initiated a new project called “A Taste Tour of ChineseDim Sum” during the Spring Festival.
4. Tea lecture: "Drinking Tea in Winter"
On February 12, a Chinese tea culture lecture was arranged. Confucius Institute teachers introduced tea culture, dealing with healthy winter tea drinking habits in winter and how these relate to the climate, as well as how drinking tea can strengthenyang qi, warm the body and the stomach, and prevent diseases. The presenters focused on the kinds of tea that are beneficial to digestion, especially those consumed during the Spring Festival, and offered notes on making tea. After the lecture, the teachers demonstrated the art of making tea, and attendees enthusiastically participated in akung futea art session.
5. Chinese Calligraphy: Giving away “Fu”, giving away “blessings”
On February 12, the calligraphy class organized a special activity in the international center building on the theme of the Chinese character “Fu” and giving blessings in calligraphy. Teachers and students participated in the activity, welcoming the New Year through calligraphy. The calligraphy teacher also explained Spring Festival culture, the origin of the Spring Festival couplets, how to write the Spring Festival couplets, and why the character "Fu" is traditionally hung or pasted upside down. All the students were extremely happy to be able to take their works home, along with their teacher's "blessing".
6. Chinese New Year Celebratory Gathering
On February 15, laughter and joy was heard from a well-decorated conference room on the third floor of the International Affairs department building at the University of California, Davis. The Confucius Institute arranged a celebratory function for Chinese New Year as well as a special lecture called "Spring Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year". All the teachers from the Confucius Institute and more than seventy faculty members from the university's International Affairs department, as well as ten Hubert Humphrey North-South Exchange Research Scholarship Project scholars, participated in the event. Mi Xi, Dean of the Confucius Institute, delivered the New Year greetings and introduced the traditional New Year customs, after which she joined the attendees in samplingdim sum. Through enjoying the Spring Festival decorations and foods with auspicious meanings, the faculty members experienced the festive New Year atmosphere and the charm of traditional Chinese culture.
7. The Lantern Festival Community Feast
On February 16, the Confucius Institute together with the China Culture Foundation held a community feast to celebrate the Lantern Festival in Sacramento, California. There were many wonderful activities and performances during the event, like dragon and lion dances, a Tai Chi performance, folk songs and dances, and riddles. The Confucius Institute has funded and established the "UC Davis Confucius Institute Scholarship". During the celebration, the Confucius Institute awarded scholarships to recipients from twelve Chinese schools. Over five hundred people participated in the celebration.
The Confucius Institute at the University of California, Davis has held a series of wonderful activities which celebrated the Spring Festival, showcasing contemporary and traditional Chinese culture and arts, and sharing the joy of the Chinese New Year with the American public. These activities were well supported and received wide coverage, highlighting the mutual desire for furthering cultural communication between the two peoples. The growing appreciation for Spring Festival culture in America reflects the yearning for the good life in both countries as well as the desire to cherish traditional cultures.
Professor Xi delivers the “Spring Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year” lecture
Enjoying tea and celebrating the Chinese New Year
Learning to use chopsticks and tasting Chinese dim sum
The Confucius Institute awards scholarships to recipients from the Chinese schools
Participating in activities