Confucius Institute of Reunion Island, France, participates in the Guan Di Festival

[Source]     [Time]    2015-08-20 15:35:13 

From August 7th to 9th (local time), the Confucius Institute of Reunion Island, France, was invited for the first time to participate in the grand celebration of the biennial Guan Di Festival in Saint-Denis, the most important festival for local Chinese. Guests attending the celebration included Gilbert Annette, Mayor of Saint-Denis, and Guo Wei, Chinese Consul General in Saint-Denis. This year’s event was jointly participated by over 20 local associations and organizations and more than 150 volunteers from all ethnic groups of Reunion Island and attracted around 15,000 visitors.

Teacher and student representatives from the Confucius Institute took part in the celebration parade held on the afternoon of August 7th, in which approximately 400 people marched from the City Hall to the “Chinatown” in Saint-Denis, lasting for more than one hour. During the parade, the delegates from the Confucius Institute held high the flag of the Institute and waved panda toys as mascots, attracting rounds of cheers from the spectators. After the parade, the art performances and “Hanfeng Village” (Chinese-styled village) exhibition, which would last for three days, soon began.

Teachers and students of the Confucius Institute marching in the parade

During the event, Jenny Law-Lin, a student of the Confucius Institute who just returned from her study at South China Normal University in China; Annabelle Rosemont, winner of the prize for most potential contestant in the preliminary round of the 2015 “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition in France; and Daniel Malet, a top student of the Confucius Institute, sang some classic Chinese songs, whose fluent Chinese and spectacular performance attracted hundreds of visitors. They also shared their own experience and encouraged other young people to learn Chinese at the Confucius Institute and further their studies in China. Later, Ms. Aline Kwan, French Director of the Institute, and the Chinese teacher Mr. Liang Jihu presented the stories of Guan Gong (Lord Guan, or Guan Yu, a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han Dynasty) in French and Chinese, respectively, and the spectators were deeply fascinated by the lively storytelling and tense plot. Towards the end of the stories, a Q&A session was held on the spot, during which even five-year-old children were eager to answer questions. Finally, five lucky members of the spectators were awarded with prizes.

Spectators listening to the stories attentively

At the “Hanfeng Village” Exhibition Hall, a large number of visitors were drawn by the Chinese talent course which is to be offered in the new semester, Confucius Institute scholarships and summer camps, the photo exhibition of the Confucius Institute activities, and the exhibition of stories of Guan Yu, who all came to the booth of the Confucius Institute to inquire more information. Within only three days, more than 80 people submitted their pre-registration.

Mayor of Saint-Denis visiting the booth of the Confucius Institute

Visitors inquiring information about courses offered by the Confucius Institute

It is an indispensable part of every year’s celebration to present prizes to students with outstanding academic achievements. This year, two students of the Confucius Institute who obtained diplomas in Chinese language from the University of Reunion Island received their prizes at the event. Then, in the Second China-Reunion Island Economic Forum, Morgane Anaelle Marie Lebon, who just returned from her study at Shanxi University supported by the Confucius Institute scholarship, delivered a speech and encouraged more young people to study in China.

It is learned that, first launched in 2004, the grand celebration of the Guan Di Festival in Reunion Island is jointly sponsored by La Fédération des Associations Chinoises de La Réunion and the City Government of Saint-Denis, and is organized by Guan Di Réunion.

Story by Chen Zehan

Photos by Chen Zehan, He Yiping & He Wenzhong


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