Staff members from UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland actively participated in the Spring Festival Fair in The Chq Building on 24th and 25th February, to celebrate the Year of the Dog with local Irish and Chinese communities.
Various China-themed workshops created an authentic Chinese New Year atmosphere, such as tea ceremony, papercutting, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese chess, Chinese knot and traditional instrument performance. The Spring Festival Fair drew close to 10,000 visitors over the weekend, including distinguished guest, the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D..
Accompanied by the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Dr. Yue Xiaoyong and Professor Liming Wang, the Director of UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D., participated in several cultural activities and interacted closely with teachers from UCD CII. He learned to write his name in Chinese using calligraphy brush.
Papercutting workshop provides people with wide-ranged patterns like “Spring (春)”, “Double Happiness (囍)” as well as dog images, which were very popular among the younger audience. Under the guidance of UCD CII teachers, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. also carved his own 3D “Spring (春)” character.
The tea ceremony was accompanied by live Yangqing (dulcimer) performance, and well demonstrated the philosophical harmony of Chinese culinary tradition. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. was eager to try out the different variety of tea and admired at its elegant ceremonial steps and the family values it holds.
Chinese Chess attracted many young Irish audience. The participants were sometimes immersed in deep thoughts, sometimes conversing lively with the other opponent. The challenging match also symbolizes a bridge of cross-cultural communication.
Before the Taoiseach departed for his next busy schedule, he mentioned to the UCD CII staff that this is his second time to participate in the Spring Festival Fair. During his first visit, he was then the Minister for Health. There has been a growing number of Chinese visitors to Ireland, and he expressed good wishes for a more successful Spring Festival Fair, and a very happy Chinese New Year to the Chinese community in Ireland. The Taoiseach also predicted 2018 to be a year of strong development of Sino-Irish relations.
The annual Spring Festival Fair not only offers a space for the Chinese community in Ireland to ease their feelings of homesickness, but creates also a great opportunity for local Irish and international tourists to be closer to authentic Chinese traditions. Since the establishment of the first Spring Festival Fair in 2016, UCD CII has been an avid supporter of the event and its cultural workshops have remained to be among the most popular activities.