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USTB-DMU CI Hosting Colorful Chinese New Year Celebrations in Leicester, UK

To celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Dragon in 2024, the Confucius Institute (CI), which is jointly established by University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB) and De Montfort University (DMU) in the United Kingdom, held 15 series of large, medium and small cultural activities at DMU and broader areas of Leicester City/Leicestershire, inviting DMU students and staff and local residents to showcase, experience and enjoy the Chinese New Year culture colorfully. The series of activities, strongly supported by UTSB, DMU, Leicester City Council, and CI partners, won widespread acclaim and appreciation from DMU students and staff, the wider local community, and the leadership of the two universities. The celebrations were also widely broadcast or reported by a number of media outlets, including BBC Television, ITV Television, The Leicester Mercury, BBC Radio Leicester, St Thomas Aquinas CMAT staff newsletter, and DMU FM radio, winning widespread push and forwarding by relevant mass media and local self-media, with a cumulative audience of nearly 25,000 people. The cultural talents of volunteer teachers from the CI added a vivid touch to Leicester's Chinese New Year celebrations.

On February 13th, representatives from DMU and USTB held a Chinese New Year celebration at DMU CI to mark the beginning of another year of cooperation and friendship between the two universities. Professor Gu Wei, Co-Director of the CI, first delivered an opening speech to welcome guests and introduce the cultural significance of the Chinese New Year. DMU VC Professor Katie Normington and PVC Mr. Simon Bradbury, Prof. YANG Renshu, President of USTB, and Prof. LYU Zhaoping, Vice President of USTB, extended their New Year’s greetings, respectively. They not only recognized and highly praised the achievements made by the Confucius Institute in promoting mutual cooperation and exchanges in the past year but also expressed their ardent hopes for further deepening collaboration and partnership in the coming year. Afterward, the volunteer teachers of the CI presented a talent show and tea art experience to the guests. The guests talked happily among the beautiful music of Zither and the fragrance of tea to celebrate the arrival of the Chinese New Year of the Dragon.


In addition to the celebration between the two universities, from February 12 to February 16, the Confucius Institute held five consecutive Spring Festival cultural activities on the DMU campus, providing nearly 300 DMU students, staff, and the public with opportunities to taste Chinese culture. Apart from cultural workshops on calligraphy, tea culture, martial arts/dance, and musical instruments, the CI organized a Chinese Spring Festival Gala on Lunar New Year’s Eve. The event not only enabled CI teachers to experience the festive atmosphere of their homeland but also allowed DMU students who are passionate about Chinese culture to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere.

Spring Festival is China's, but also the world's. To let more local people understand and experience the Chinese New Year culture, during the Spring Festival of the Year of the Dragon, DMU CI also collaborated with the Leicester City Council to host grand celebrations in the city center of Leicester. On February 10th, CI teachers and partners gave a series of Chinese Spring Festival performances to celebrate Chinese New Year at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery for five hours and attracted an audience of over 1000 people. At the celebration, volunteer teachers from the CI showcased extraordinary talents on stage, which deeply impressed the local public. The opening dance of Yangko first lit up the atmosphere and the magnificent group dance “The Nation of Courtesy” amazed the audience. The classical folk music "Dance of Yao Nationality," performed with a combination of Chinese and Western zither and harmonica, drew cheers. The graceful and delicate Hulusi solo "A Beautiful Myth" captured the imagination, and the elegant Chinese classical dance "Gleaming Ripples" was fascinating.

Concurrent cultural workshops also allowed the public from all walks of life in Leicester to understand and experience Chinese culture firsthand. From handkerchief spinning to shuttlecock kicking, from practicing Chinese calligraphy to trying on hairpins, regardless of skin color, whether old or young, all visitors enjoy the warm cultural atmosphere of the Chinese New Year. On February 11th, the second day of Chinese New Year, procession featuring lion dances, dragon dances, and a firework show became the spotlight in the city center, attracting thousands of enthusiastic followers. DMU CI was also invited to participate in the Chinese New Year celebration activities hosted by Leicester Chinese Sunday School and the local student organization UKEC.

Collaboration between DMU CI and primary and secondary schools in Leicester was also in full swing as the old year gave way to the new. CI teachers were invited to participate in various Spring Festival celebrations launched by local schools or to organize some performances for their students. On the afternoon of January 31st, CI Director Gu Wei and seven other CI volunteer teachers were invited to celebrate the Spring Festival with nearly 300 students and teachers at Little Bowden Primary School, the affiliated Confucius Classroom of DMU CI. They taught students how to write and cut the Chinese character “春” and how to play Tai Chi fan, which were very popular with the students. The students at Little Bowden Primary School also celebrated Chinese New Year with Chinese songs '萱草花' (Xuancao Flower) and '你笑起来真好看' (You Look Beautiful When You Smile). Their fluent Mandarin and beautiful singing showcased the school's Chinese teaching achievements and impressed the audience deeply.

On February 3rd, students from Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, after sitting on the YCT test at the CI, indulged themselves in various cultural games organized by CI teachers.

In the celebration at Beauchamp College on February 5th, in addition to experiencing traditional Chinese character writing and paper cutting, with the help of CI teachers, students of the school also tried their hands at making dough figurines, a traditional Shanxi folk craftsmanship, and they were thrilled by their creations.

As the Chinese New Year celebrations draw to a close, the festive atmosphere in Leicester still lingers on. Amidst drumbeats, fireworks, and laughter, people are bound together by a shared passion for Chinese culture. The 2024 Chinese New Year celebrations organized by the Confucius Institute not only provide local people with the opportunity to watch beautiful performances and participate in Chinese cultural activities but also allow more people to understand Chinese New Year customs better, helping to spread Chinese culture. In the future, the Confucius Institute will strive to make greater contributions to the diversity of local cultures.


Draft: ZHANG Rumeng

Revision: GU Wei & DAN Xiaohong

  • Topics

    University News

  • Date

    February 22,2024

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