Festival gives Chicago students a taste of Chinese culture

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2016-09-25 14:58:03

Hundreds of students from elementary and high schools in Chicago gathered at Whitney Young Magnet High School Saturday to have a sip of traditional Chinese culture at the Chinese Cultural Festival.

Students and their parents crowded into the hall of this prestigious public high school in Chicago, watched traditional Chinese lion dance, Chinese folk dance, and listened to Chinese music and songs. Performance of lion dance and martial arts draw the warmest applause.

More than 20 exhibitors are also present showcasing Chinese culture-related activities such as Chinese calligraphy, paper-cutting, kite-making, Tai Chi, Wei Qi (Go game), Chinese language classes, and use of chopsticks. All attendees have a chance to try their hands and win souvenirs.

This is the third year for the Confucius Institute in Chicago (CIC) and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to host such an event.

"Our Chinese Cultural Festival in the past two years was a great success, with more than 2,000 attendees from CPS and the general public," said Jane Lu, Director of CIC. "We want to share the fun and celebrate Chinese culture again this year."

Being the third largest school district in the US, CPS runs one of the most successful "Chinese World Language Programs" in the country, with approximately 13,000 students in 45 schools learning Chinese and more than 60 Chinese language teachers.

Joshua Bobbitt is a ninth grade student from Lindblom High School, and has studied Chinese for two years. He told Xinhua: "I'm trying to learn more about grammar and how to treat with respect like 'nin' instead of 'ni'." Joshua also learned a little bit about Chinese calligraphy at Lindblom, but he said Chinese language is his top priority now.

"It is a very important thing for us to exchange views with each other, through language," said Hong Lei, Chinese Consul General in Chicago, in his address to the event. The total population of China and the US now accounts for one fifth of the world's population; the total trade volume between China and the US accounts for one fourth of the world's trade; the total GDP of China and the US accounts for one third of the world's GDP.

"There are a lot of common interest between us (China and the US), and there are more important international responsibilities for us to shoulder. So we encourage our young people to know each other's language, to have more communications, to have more exchanges, forge an even stronger China-US relationship" Hong Lei said.

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