International Students at Temple Fair
International students perform dragon dance on Xiaonian (小年Preliminary Eve) at the Changsha Fire Palace Temple Fair . (Photo/Wang Haohao)
CSUST students watch sugar painting. (Xinhua/Xue Yuge)
A CSUST student from Ghana (L) tries his hand in dough modeling. (Xinhua/Xue Yuge)
A CSUST student from Ethiopia (M) wears a set of Miao silver ornament. (Xinhua/Xue Yuge)
January 29, the 24th day of the 12th lunar month, is the day of Xiaonian (小年, Preliminary Eve or Little New Year) in most Chinese areas. The Changsha Fire Palace Temple Fair 2019 opened that day. A Central South University (CSU) international student dragon dance troupe performed at the fair, to pray for peace and blessing. The students are from all around the world, including France, USA, and Bangladesh.
“I’ve spent six Chinese New Years in China. Here is my second home,” said Gildas Botomanantsoa, a CSU doctoral student from the Republic of Madagascar. “Since I came for graduate study in 2012, I often watched dragon dance. I love it, and join it,” he added.
He and his schoolfellows attended several dragon dance competitions, on behalf of CSU. Now, he is a dragon dance coach for CSU’s international freshmen. Influenced by him, his older brother, also studies in CSU, and joined the dragon dance troupe in 2017.
International students perform dragon dance. (Photo/Wang Haohao)
Gildas Botomanantsoa marked that, dragon dance represents good wishes in China; and it can keep us strong and healthy. During the Chinese Spring Festival, red lanterns are seen everywhere, which are good ways to create festive atmosphere. He enjoys spicy food and Chinese liquor, and totally adapts to the life in China.
Nilufar Abdugaffarova, a Changsha University of Science and Technology (CSUST) student from Kazakhstan, shared what she saw at the fair with her families through a video chat. She showed them Miao songs and dances, intangible cultural products, and Hanfu show (a kind of historical traditional dress in the Han Dynasty). “They were amazed by these events and deeply impressed by China,” she said.
She came here to study in 2017. She has passed HSK level 5 and can speak Putonghua very fluently. She wished to travel to Zhangjiajie and Beijing in 2019.
Badjona Yawavi, a CSUST student from the Republic of Togo, was enchanted by the handmade costumes of Tongdao Dong Autonomous County. “It seems simple to me. They told me that, actually, a small piece of pattern needs to take one day handwork,” she said.
“Red is popular in China especially during the Spring Festival, and I love red very much,” said Badjona Yawavi. She wished everything goes well in the New Year.