The Taste of Dragon Boat Festival
The Dragon Boat Festival was celebrated in Confucius Institute at University of Cape Town (CIUCT), joined by colleagues in the International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) in the Masingene Building on Monday, June 18th 2018.
The celebration started at noon. In his welcome address, Mr Liu Wenwu, the new Chinese Director of Confucius Institute, said that this celebration was the first Chinese cultural event that he organised after his assumption of post.
Mr Liu went on to explain the Dragon Boat Festival. He mentioned that “dragon”, the most common English translation of “lóng ” (Chinese character龙), is not precise. In the western cultures, dragons are portrayed as evil creatures, while “lóng” is generally a positive image in Chinese culture, considered to be God of Rivers and Oceans that can bring water to relieve drought. He also explained that there is another English translation, spelled as “loong”, which is quite close to its Chinese pronunciation and can be distinguished from the western vicious image.
A mini lecture was presented by four Confucius Institute volunteer teachers, aiming at introducing the celebration of Dragon Boat Festival in depth to all the participants. Ms He Lingling explained the origin of the Festival and told the story of the famous patriot Qu Yuan, whom we commemorate on this date. Ms Hu Tianqi introduced how people in countries other than China celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival. Ms Zhang Shan focused on the culture of zòngzi (sticky rice dumplings), a delicacy of the festival. Various flavors and shapes of Zongzi were shown to the audience. In the end, dragon boat and the tradition of dragon boat race were introduced by Mr Wu Huaying through watching videos.
The event concluded with tasting red bean flavored, Chinese date flavored and pork flavored Zongzi and other delicious Chinese food.
Exotic as it may seem, but the IAPO colleagues showed great interests in the Dragon Boat Festival and its celebration. They were amazed by how the lovely zongzi were intricately wrapped up when peeling off the bamboo wrappers. Some of them became interested in the sport of dragon boat race. One colleague was moved by the story of Qu Yuan and said that she would Google it to learn more about this great patriot.
(Written by Wu Huaying)