Chinese culture displays at the Cambridge Hills Festival

Cultural Exchanges

The 5th Hills Festival was successfully held at the Hills Road Sixth Form College. This is the first time for Cambridge CEEDS Society to participate in this annual cultural festival, for this we have prepared two dedicated workshops to entertain the young students – an introduction to Chinese language and calligraphy, as well as a Chinese tea ceremony.

The introduction to Chinese language and calligraphy was presented by Ms. YAN Shanshan, who is currently a PhD candidate from Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge. Ms. YAN first introduced that there are many dialects spoken in different regions in China but people can speak Mandarin to communicate with others. Then she taught students basic pronunciation and tones of Mandarin. She also emphasized a few reasons that Chinese is not hard compared with other languages in order to encourage them to learn.

During the calligraphy practice session, Ms. YAN introduced four treasures for Chinese calligraphy, namely ink, brush, paper, inkstone, and also taught the students how to use the brush properly. In order to be a master in Chinese calligraphy, students need to learn the basic strokes and practice a lot. After the introduction, students started to practice Chinese calligraphy, and also challenged the couplets – a common way for the Chinese to express their good wishes but extremely difficult to write. At the end, they took their couplets for group photos and brought them back home as souvenirs.

The tea ceremony was presented by Ms. CHEN Xi who is an artist in Chinese painting and tea living in Cambridge. She makes her own artworks and is a current committee member of CEEDS. She started by showing the basic procedures of how to brew the tea. There were two kinds of tea brewed. One is Oolong tea which can be readily translated into “Dark Dragon tea” in Chinese. Another one is Pu-erh tea that is named after the city in China from which this tea is originated. According to Ms. CHEN, Pu-erh tea is a fermented tea. In China, tea culture is often connected to healthcare. People in China drink Pu-erh tea to help reduce the blood pressure and help lose weight.

Ms. CHEN also presented the tea ceremony with traditional Chinese music and poems that are closely related to Chinese tea culture. After each run of brewing, students were invited to taste the tea. Samples of different types of tea were passed around so that students could take a close look at the tea before brewing.

Below are some pictures taken throughout the event: