Chinese culture displays at the Cambridge Hills Festival
On 1st July 2014, the 5th Hills Festival was successfully held at the Hills Road Sixth Form College. This is the first time for CEEDS to be invited to this annual cultural festival, for which we have prepared two dedicated programmes for the young students – an introduction to Chinese language and calligraphy, as well as a Chinese tea ceremony.
The introduction to Chinese language and calligraphy was presented by Ms. YAN Shanshan, currently a PhD candidate from Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge. Ms. YAN first introduced that there are many dialects being spoken in different regions of China while people can always use Mandarin to communicate with others. Then she taught students basic pronunciation and tones of Mandarin, while stating a few reasons why Chinese is not as intimidating as is generally perceived in order to encourage the students.
During the calligraphy practice session, Ms. YAN introduced four treasures for Chinese calligraphy, namely ink, brush, paper and inkstone, and also taught the students how to use the brush properly. To be a master in Chinese calligraphy, one needs to learn the basic strokes and practise a lot. After the introduction, students could not wait to try by themselves with some simple characters, and also challenged the couplets – a common way for the Chinese to express their good wishes by writing down lines of poetry. At the end, they took their couplets for group photos and happily brought them back home as souvenirs.
The tea ceremony was presented by Ms. CHEN Xi who is an artist in Chinese painting and tea ceremony who lives in Cambridge. She creates artworks regularly and is a current committee member of CEEDS. She started by showing the basic steps of how to brew the tea, taking two kinds as examples. One is Oolong tea which can be readily translated into “Dark Dragon tea” in Chinese. Another one is Pu-erh tea that is named after the city in China where the tea is originated. According to Ms. CHEN, Pu-erh tea is a fermented tea. In China, tea culture is often associated with physical well-being. People in China drink Pu-erh tea to help reduce the blood pressure and lose weight.
Ms. CHEN presented the tea ceremony with traditional Chinese music and poetry that are often closely related to Chinese tea culture. After each run of brewing, students were invited to taste the tea. Samples of different types of tea leaves were passed around so that students could take a closer look at them before brewing.
Below are some pictures taken throughout the event: