Students enjoyed an afternoon of food, fun and games, all while celebrating Chinese culture.
The Confucius Institute at the University of Toledo celebrated their fifth annual Chinese New Year and Spring Festival Feb. 13 from 11 to 2 p.m. at their free event in the Student Union Auditorium.
The Year of the Rooster event gave UT students, as well as others who attended, the opportunity to learn about the culture of China through activities and crafts such as ping pong, solving riddles, attempting calligraphy and even trying on traditional Chinese clothes.
There was also an area where students could sit and try green tea or listen to a child play the guzheng, a traditional stringed Chinese instrument she has been studying for five years.
The event also offered several different types of Chinese food students could try once they had visited three or more areas within the event.
“I think it is amazing that the University of Toledo goes to such lengths to educate its students about the diversity on its campus,” said Olivia Tharp, a first-year student studying chemistry.
The Confucius Institute at UT and other universities and schools around the world align with the People’s Republic of China and focus on promoting and teaching the Chinese language and culture.
“I just want more people to show an interest in Chinese culture and to learn more about it,” said Xinren Yu, the international programs coordinator for the Confucius Institute.
Xiaofeng Zhao, a Chinese language teacher at Central Catholic High School and a member of the Confucius Institute, said that she feels it is her responsibility to promote appreciation of her heritage.
“I hope that everyone can enjoy the activities and show kindness towards each other and towards Chinese culture,” Zhao said.
Chinese classes from several local high schools, including Morrison R. Waite, St. John’s Jesuit and Maumee Valley, came to the event as well as part of a voluntary field trip.
Yu said that more than 500 people attended the event and approximately 200 of them were from high schools.
While some of these students were excited to have the opportunity to get out of class, others, like Adam Braun, a sophomore at St. John’s High School, said he was excited to attend the event for other reasons.
“It gives me a chance to be with friends and learn about Chinese culture and [the] New Year,” said Braun.
The Institute plans to hold this event in the future, as well as a similar event in the fall semester during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is a Chinese and Vietnamese holiday celebrating the harvest.