University celebrates Chinese New Year

University celebrates Chinese New Year

The University of Aberdeen will mark the Chinese New Year today (February 19) with a traditional lion dance, calligraphy workshops and a host of other activities to welcome the year of the sheep.

Organised by the University’s Confucius Institute and International Centre, events to mark the beginning of the Lunar New Year will take place across King’s College Campus and at Hazelhead Primary School.

Celebrations will begin at 9am with calligraphy demonstrations in the Hub, which will run in the reception area throughout the day.

From 11am to 12.30pm and from 1.30pm to 3.30pm there will be paper-cutting and Chinese games at the International Centre – a dedicated space providing a focal point where members of the University of Aberdeen community can meet and engage with all things international. The Centre, which opened in January, promotes international activities on campus, encourages engagement and interaction with international events and cultivates interest in studying and working abroad.

The highlight of the celebrations is a lion dance, in which performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume, outside the Sir Duncan Library at 12.30pm.

To add to the atmosphere there will also be Chinese music, and Chinese food will be on offer at lunchtime.

Running parallel to events on campus will be workshops at Hazelhead Primary School run by staff from the Confucius Institute.

Pupils will learn about the Chinese New Year and language related to the celebration, and will take part in calligraphy and paper-cutting sessions. In the afternoon they will perform with Scottish Opera a new children's opera commissioned by Scottish Opera and the Confucius Institutes of Scotland, entitled 'Warriors! The Emperor's Incredible Army'.

Professor Barbara Fennell-Clark, Director of the University of Aberdeen Confucius Institute and Dean of Chinese Affairs, said: “This is our first official celebration of the Chinese New Year at the University of Aberdeen. It has been made possible by Wuhan University staff working in the Confucius Institute and our fantastic volunteers drawn from both Aberdeen students and the local community.

“It is both a celebration of the new lunar year and an opportunity to introduce the wider university community to Chinese traditions, language and culture.

“We are delighted to be running celebrations both on the University campus and at Hazelhead Primary School – one of a number of local schools the Confucius Institute works closely with to engage children with Chinese language and culture from an early age.”