Confucius Institute Co-Hosted New Year Festivities with Local Schools

Confucius Institute members demonstrating dance traditions.
Confucius Institute members demonstrating dance traditions.

Sycamore High School students dressing up in traditional Chinese costumes.As the Year of the Monkey arrived, the Confucius Institute at Miami University was invited to bring a taste of Chinese culture to local schools. Between February 4 and February 11, the talented staff members of the Confucius Institute traveled to four schools in the Cincinnati area: Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Richard Allen Schools, Mason High School, and Sycamore High School. More than a thousand students and teachers enjoyed Chinese New Year Events.

On February 4, Yazhou demonstrated kung fu and Yina taught a kung fu lesson to about 300 students at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (CHCA). As students and teachers observed a demonstration of kung fu, they responded with enthusiastic applause. An American student shared with CI staff members that he “was fascinated by Chinese culture, especially the martial arts. I am learning Chinese and I hope to go to China to study someday.”

Students also had the opportunity to try on traditional Chinese costumes. Trying on the bright, beautiful costumes was a highlight of the event for many students, and they had the chance to experience a few moments as a princess or other costumed identity. One American student, who was trying on foreign clothing for the first time, expressed her admiration for the clothes, saying, “This costume is so unique and beautiful.”

Richard Allen School students sitting on the floor and watching a Chinese ceremony.On the following day, led by director Zhao, Yazhou, Liying, the Lion Dance Club, and the Chinese Classic Musical Ensemble demonstrated their traditions, such as the lion dance, kung fu, and traditional music for about 500 students at Richard Allen Schools. At the primary school, the lion brought great joy to students, and its playful dance elicited laugher from the children. One young student said about the lion, “It is very cute!” Later on, students enjoyed lightening fast martial arts performances as well as the music of the melodious lute, which brought the New Year activities to a climax. Students expressed their appreciation for the Confucius Institute and the exciting program CI brought to their school.

Later that same day, about 500 students, teachers, and community members at Mason High School had the chance to witness a tea ceremony and a lion dance. They also had the opportunity to learn some kung fu movements. The tea ceremony, with its long history and culture, was especially well received. Zhou Yina presented the elegant tea ceremony. One individual thanked the Confucius Institute for “bringing such a wonderful, professional tea ceremony. I enjoy tea and today’s performance was very special.”

After the tea ceremony, the Lion Dance Club members presented a lion dance. Mason students then participated in a vigorous, high-energy kung fu demonstration. As the Mason High School Event concluded, one parent said, “We are very lucky to admire the fascinating elements of Chinese culture.”

Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy students practicing kung fuFinally, on February 11, about 1,000 students at Sycamore High School watched a dragon dance and costume show during their lunch hour. Zhang Ning, the Chinese teacher at Sycamore High School, thanked the Confucius Institute for helping to bring Chinese culture to life, saying, “We hope that we will join hands in sharing culture and developing understanding to create a better future.”

CIMU is glad to have helped students and teachers experience new cultural frontiers, and wishes them the best in the Year of the Monkey!