Chinese lanterns illuminate Belarusian hearts

Belarusian State University’s Lyceum hosts concert honouring Chinese national holiday
By Polina Lokhmanenko

Chinese culture is both unique and mysterious, embracing traditions which have endured through the centuries. It’s hard not to fall in love with the ancient arts of the East. Unsurprisingly, an increasing number of Belarusians are studying Chinese, being eager to learn more about this wonderful country.

The annual Chinese Lantern Festival marks the end of the traditional New Year (following the lunar calendar); it proclaims the unfurling of Spring, which brings new life. Legend says that the festival originated during the Han Dynasty, initiated by the Emperor, who ordered that red lanterns be hung everywhere on that day. The annual tradition is now a state holiday: a time of flying lanterns and dragon dances, with an atmosphere similar to Valentine’s Day.

In Belarus, the holiday was organised by the Republican Confucius Institute, uniting efforts by Belarusian and Chinese students. A great concert was held at the BSU’s Lyceum, with a programme rich in singing and dancing, following ancient Chinese tradition. There were also theatrical performances (staged in Chinese), with a new version of Cinderella. A Minsk schoolgirl team demonstrated traditional Wushu fighting, which combines strength and delicacy, and the holiday ended with a symbolic singing of the popular Chinese song — A Friend — by all the students.

The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Belarus, H.E. Mr. Gong Jianwei, noted in his welcoming speech that Belarusian-Chinese friendship is gaining strength and joint holidays of this kind contribute to our two seemingly opposite cultures growing closer.
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