People watch lion dance during the Chinese Festival Day event at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, Australia, July 21, 2019. As children and their parents were making paper dragons or lions, some seniors sat down to enjoy Chinese dances and songs in the National Museum of Australia on Sunday, when the Chinese Festival Day attracted thousands of visitors. (Photo by Chu Chen/Xinhua)
As children and their parents were making paper dragons or lions, some seniors sat down to enjoy Chinese dances and songs in the National Museum of Australia on Sunday, when the Chinese Festival Day attracted thousands of visitors.
The event lasted for three hours from 10 a.m. local time. It was a specially-designed family festival day along with the "Historical Expression of Chinese Art" exhibition, which started on April 5.
"This event will complement the static painting and calligraphy exhibition in a dynamic form, and you will experience a more comprehensive and multi-faceted Chinese culture," said Yang Zhi, minister-counselor for culture at the Chinese Embassy in Australia.
He told Xinhua that the museum proposed to have such an event so as to help more people understand Chinese culture. The exhibition has attracted more than 56,000 visitors to date.
"This 'Chinese Festival Day' is testament not only to the fruitful cultural exchanges between China and Australia, but also to long-term friendly and mutual trust between the two sides," he said.
Heidi Pritchard, manager of lifelong learning at the museum, said that the festival promotes understanding and harmony. "And it is good fun," she said. "Everybody is having fun. They are watching the dance. They can have tea. Most importantly, they speak to people. They get really interactive."
"We saw all the children watching the dragon and watching the Kong Fu. Maybe some of the children will take up Kong Fu, or maybe they will take up Chinese language. The whole idea is about promoting cultural understanding," she said.
The festival was unveiled with Chinese traditional dragon and waist drum dances. Then visitors could enjoy Tibetan dance, sword dance and Chinese ballet, as well as Beijing Opera, Tai-Chi demonstration, folk songs and performance of traditional music instrument Hulusi.
Children stood in a long queue waiting for hands-on craft activities to make paper dragons and lions, or try paper cutting, kite making, Chinese chess.
When they were tired, they could take a sip of tea at the tea ceremony, or sit down to learn making dumpling.
The performers and demonstrators were mostly from local Chinese communities.
Xu Fanjun with the Australian School of Contemporary Chinese said that six teachers were involved, demonstrating calligraphy, Chinese ink painting, paper cutting, etc.
"Local people are interested," she said. "Some of the children are Chinese Australian, who had little chance here to learn Chinese culture. So the event helps them better understand the tradition where their parents were from. Some are Australian kids, who would find the demonstration intriguing. Some of them asked the teachers to write down their Chinese names, or make a painting for them."
Varya, 9 years old, wore a purple Han-style traditional Chinese dress. She posed for photos and made a paper dragon. "I like Chinese artworks," she said. "I like the pattern and the colors."
Ben Nicholls was helping his 10-year-old daughter doing the paper artwork. He told Xinhua that his daughter began experiencing the Chinese culture since a very young age, perhaps three or four.
Talking about the Chinese culture, he said: "It is different. It is interesting in its tradition and style." Nicholls believed that the experience could be beneficial for the girl. "It could broaden the perspective of her life, which is a good thing."