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Happiness for happy family

Chinese Lantern Festival (also known as the Yuanxiao Festival) celebrated by National Chinese Studies Centre (Confucius Institute) at Belarusian State University

By Galina Grishkovets

Attending the event was the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Belarus, H.E. Mr. Gong Jianwei. He noted that China would like to deepen its bilateral co-operation with Belarus across all fields. BSU Rector Sergei Ablameiko emphasised the importance of expanding academic ties with China. Many Chinese students already study at the Belarusian State University, while Belarusian young people learn Chinese.

The Festival featured Chinese songs and couplets, and dances by Belarusian and Chinese students. The best received gratitude letters from the University administration and the winners of contests for the best translation and photography were also awarded. These contests demonstrated that Belarusian young people have great interest in Chinese culture.

The Yuanxiao Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month of the luni-solar year in the Chinese calendar. This year, Chinese New Year arrived on January 23rd. The Festival is an ancient holiday. Back in the 10th century, it became traditional to light colourful lanterns in China, in all sizes, resembling animals, flowers and fruit, to celebrate the New Year. Villagers would organise fireworks, dragon dances, round dances, stilt walking and other entertainments.

In the 11th century, the tradition spread all over China. Yuanxiao rice balls are eaten, with sweet fillings, and candied fruit. The round shape of the balls symbolises family togetherness. Early in the morning, many people queue for Yuanxiao rice balls at shops. Puzzles written on lanterns are also solved on this day.

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