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CIB Celebrates Lantern Festival


The Lantern Festival, or the Yuanxiao Festival, is a traditional Chinese festival that celebrates on the 15th day of the 1st month in the Chinese lunar calendar. In the Chinese language, Yuan means first; Xiao means evening. It seems that Yuanxiao means the first evening (of the first lunar month). But in fact, Yuanxiao refers to the first evening with a full moon of the year. The celebration of this festival indicates the end of the Spring Festival holidays. However, more essentially, it tells the beginning of the flourishing springtime.

On 20 February, 2020, CIB at MBU celebrated the Lantern Festival at the venue of the Confucius Institute. The MBU rector, some MBU staff and students, as well as some of the public who are interested in the Chinese culture, altogether around 50 people, attended the celebration.

The celebration begins with the opening remarks of the Slovak Director Gabriela Kormancova, followed by a brief introduction of the Lantern Festival from the Chinese Director Jianwei Wang. With some on-site interactions, he centers chiefly around four key words to explain the festival and its major celebrations: lantern & lantern riddles; Yuanxiao (a unique food in the shape of white round ball, made of glutinous rice typically filled with sesame paste, red-bean paste or peanut butter); dumplings; and chopsticks.

Specifically, he focuses on the palace lantern and illustrates the lantern riddles with two examples: 心里有你 (Literally, you are on/in my heart.) and 女子联姻 (Literally, a lady marries a man). The solution to the two riddles is a polite and humble way to say “hello” to a senior person or someone you want to show your respect to: “您好”.

Armed with the four key words, the big show begins. CIB prepares four platforms respectively for participants of the celebration to solve the lantern riddles both in Slovak and in Chinese; to challenge the skills of using chopsticks; to experience how to make dumplings and how to roll a Yuanxiao; and to have a real bite of the traditional food especially for this day and the spring festival.

CIB Lantern Festival Celebration ends with talks, exchanges, understandings, and a little knowledge and fun about the Lantern Festival.

Postscript: This event was held at the harsh times when China fought against the coronavirus and was showing strong control over the epidemic. Before and after this event, UMB and CIB at UMB have been supporting the fight against COVID-19 in various forms. During the event, some of the guests expressed their concerns about the current situation and their admiration towards the great sacrifices China has been making, and hope this epidemic will go away as soon as possible. Stay strong, Wuhan! Stay strong, China! Stay strong, the whole world!