Students and staff helped to welcome in Chinese New Year as part of one of the biggest celebrations ever held in Leicester.
Lion dances, traditional Chinese music, martial arts, choirs and dancing were part of a whole day of activities to mark the Year of the Rooster, which is also the Chinese Spring Festival.
De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s Confucius Institute (CI) was helping to run craft activities at the event. Children could make lanterns, learn how to write Chinese characters and find out more about Chinese culture. The CI celebrates Chinese culture and runs classes for students, staff and members of the public in Tai Chi and Mandarin among others.
Computer Science student Cristian Soler-Sierra, from Spain, studies Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan and joined a performance of the art at Highcross. He said: "It has been really fun. I have studied Tai Chi for two years and saw the opportunity to learn this. It is different to Tai Chi, you use a lot more energy whereas Tai Chi is really relaxing."
Dong Qing Yi, teacher at the CI, said: "Today we are sharing our culture and how we celebrate Chinese New Year which is also the Chinese spring festival. We are running crafts for children to write Chinese characters and make lanterns. It has been very popular."
Students volunteered to be part of the day through #DMUlocal,
which supports events across the city. Among the student volunteers at the event were Pharmacy
student Sarah Oduro-Amponsah, who has been studying Mandarin through the CI since October. She said: “We have started learning characters now. It is difficult but I am enjoying learning the language.”
Serena Gallinotte, who studies Project Management
, speaks Russian, English and Spanish. She said: “ I wanted to do something different. It’s difficult because I’m used to writing in Cyrillic but this is nothing like it!”
The event, run by Cosmopolitan Arts, was held at Highcross Leicester with performances at the Clock Tower. It was compered by Xishui Sun and involved the Peepul Centre Chinese Martial Arts, Peking Restaurant, Leicester Grammar School, Little Bowden Primary, Ab Kettleby Primary, Chinese Christian Church, Leicester Grammar School and Manor High School.
Mum Sarah Murphy brought her two children Olivia and Alfie to see the lion dance being performed, which brings good luck for the year. The youngsters got to write Chinese characters and complete activities. She said: "They have loved it, it's so nice having this here for them. Alfie can't wait to put his poster on his wall."
The Rooster is the tenth animal of the Chinese zodiac. Those born under the sign are said to be quick to learn, hardworking and loyal. Famous Roosters include Jennifer Lopez and Bob Marley.
Posted on Monday 30th January 2017