Chinese Teachers and Students in Latvia Celebrate the Lantern Festival
Kicking shuttlecocks, picking up red jujubes with chopsticks, guessing Chinese characters … On Feb. 11th, cheers and applauses constantly came from the auditorium of the University of Latvia, where more than 100 teachers and students from 15 Chinese teaching sites in Latvia were celebrating the Lantern Festival.
When the reporter went into the auditorium, the Lantern Festival games had not begun yet, and colorful shuttlecocks were flying up and down in the auditorium — Latvian girls and boys were practicing very hard, seizing the last bit of time before the game started.
Li Tao, Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Latvia delivering a speech
Li Tao, Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Latvia, shared the origins of the Lantern Festival before the game started. He said the Lantern Festival symbolizes the realization of reunion and aspirations, and wished every student’s dream come true in the New Year.
In the games lasting more than two hours, all team members were conscientious and tried hard to finish every act.
Who is faster with chopsticks?
Passing on the preserved fruit carefully
“Candy Moving” requires the participants to pick up dice-sized preserved fruits with chopsticks and deliver them to their teammates, and the fastest team wins. Most students could use chopsticks correctly and pass the preserved fruits on skillfully.
“I often eat Chinese food, so I can use chopsticks quite well,” said Gregory, a student from Latvia University of Agriculture while demonstrating.
The 44-year-old Pavel is a student of the Chinese interest class in Daugavpils University. He was in a red vest with conspicuous Chinese characters saying “We all have a Chinese dream” on front.
“I travelled 200 kilometers for the Lantern Festival activities. I’ve studied Chinese for four years and I keep on learning though my Chinese is at the primary level. I like Chinese very much and I think it is very interesting”, he said.
Individual Game of Shuttlecock-kicking
The activities were in full swing while the little girl Benassi from Riga 34th Middle School seemed to be moody. It was because she didn’t know the rules before and only registered for a few activities. “It is a pity that I can only watch them playing,” she said.
During the games, the green team formed by students from Riga Cultural Middle School was especially eye-catching. Although the participants are young, they have strong abilities in comprehension and performed well in every round of the games. They won thunderous cheers from the viewers. In the end, the green team won the champion of the games that day with excellent grades.
After the games, students from Daugavpils University had to return to the eastern part. They said that the activities were great and they had a very good time. But they were not content with their third place in the games and were all eager to participate next year.
Dong Fang, chief planner of the Lantern Festival celebration this year as well as a Chinese teacher of Confucius Institute at the University of Latvia, said that the institute holds celebration activities every Lantern Festival and that the activity for this year was different from that of previous years in that performances were replaced by games. “We aim to let everyone participate in the activities and celebrate the Lantern Festival so that students can be more interested in Chinese, improve their Chinese and have a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture.”
(Story by Guo Qun, Li Deping; Xinhua News Agency, Riga, Feb. 11th)