Following foreigners to feel the "New Year's flavor" that Jinan sends to the world

Recently, Jinan has been filled with the joyful atmosphere of the Chinese New Year. Coinciding with the 2024 Spring Festival Jinan Rural Cultural Tourism Festival, the series of cultural experience activities for foreign friends titled "Roaming and Reading Shandong·Perceiving and Experiencing Jinan" came to the Impression Jinan·Spring World in Huaiyin District, Jinan. Thirteen international students from Shandong Jianzhu University and Shandong University from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Pakistan, South Sudan, Morocco, Togo, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan participated in the activities. They experienced "the Great Yellow River Fair,” learned Xinjiang dance, molded Jinan intangible cultural heritage pottery, learned New Year's paper cutting, and practiced traditional knot art. Foreign friends from all over the world gathered together to experience the atmosphere of the traditional Chinese festival, taste the unique and delicious goods of Jinan, and feel the hot and unique flavor of the New Year in Jinan!

After passing through the giant "dragon" lanterns over 100 meters long in Impression Jinan·Spring World, the foreign friends also happened to meet Chen Yungang, a member of the Chinese Calligraphers Association. Mr. Chen demonstrated calligraphy techniques on site and vividly interpreted each character’s meaning. With his help, the foreign friends wrote their Chinese names, "Fu" characters, and other calligraphy works, experiencing the fun of Chinese calligraphy and fully experiencing the charm of traditional Oriental aesthetics in the festive atmosphere.

Duri Panashe from Zimbabwe said, "This is my first year in Jinan and the first time I have experienced traditional Chinese festivals. I find many of the traditional Chinese customs very interesting. For example, people hang the word 'Fu' on their door during the Chinese New Year, hoping for good luck and happiness for their families. I also plan to put the 'Fu' character on the door of my dormitory. I have already taken a photo of it and sent it to my family. I hope they will have good luck and happiness in the new year! I also hope to bring them to China to experience the Chinese New Year!

After experiencing the good products and traditional culture of Shandong and Jinan at the "Yellow River Fair,” the group of foreign friends arrived at the "He Weigui" Ceramic Sculpture Studio located in Huaiyin District, Jinan City. The studio is small, quiet, and has a simple and elegant style. It displays various ceramic sculptures, decorations, and utensils made by the inheritor of Jinan's intangible cultural heritage, Mr. Wang Lingtao. The most prominent displays are the large and small ceramic sculptures of Confucius with different styles, as well as the lifelike "72 Disciples of Confucius" clay sculptures, including Yan Hui, who enjoys poverty, Gongye Chang, who can speak to birds, and Zhong You, who accompanied Confucius on his travels around the country... These pieces left the foreign friends in awe and filled with praise. After the foreign friends arrived at the studio, Mr. Wang greeted them with a traditional Chinese bow greeting. He explained the development and craftsmanship of Chinese ceramics to the visitors. Finally, under the guidance of Mr. Wang Lingtao, the foreign friends experienced the techniques and cultural essence of making ceramic "Yuanbao.” They enjoyed a cultural feast that combined traditional culture with ceramic sculpture art.

As a member of this party, Sayaka, who comes from Japan, said, "This year is the Dragon Year in China, and I found that there are dragon elements everywhere in the streets of Jinan. I am very moved. Today, I came to the western part of Jinan to experience a series of Spring Festival customs. I watched lanterns, learned Xinjiang dance, and made ceramic sculptures and paper-cutting, which allowed me to have a deeper understanding and interest in Chinese traditional culture. I have always been interested in Chinese culture, and today, I found that many fascinating cultures can only be experienced. Therefore, I plan to participate in more activities like this in the future. I also want to share my experiences with my friends and family at home so they can fall in love with Chinese culture and the Chinese festivals. Welcome everyone to 'celebrate Chinese festivals' in China!"

At the end of the event, the foreign friends visited the Shandong Handmade Exhibition and experienced the Huaiyin Branch Center. The person in charge led the international students on a tour and explained traditional intangible cultural heritage projects such as traditional knot art, cloth art, root carving, and paper-cutting. The characteristic "New Year's flavor" intangible cultural heritage works were dazzling, allowing foreign friends to see the new vitality emitted by the old Chinese craftsmanship. The inheritors of intangible cultural heritage showed their unique skills, and the foreign friends and visitors came to experience "Handmade in Jinan,” including cutting paper flowers, weaving knot art, etc. They jointly felt the cultural heritage and enjoyed the unique fun of experiencing the excellent traditional Chinese culture.

Since the launch of the 2024 Spring Festival Shandong Rural Cultural Tourism Festival, the festive atmosphere has been fully-fledged in the land of Qilu, allowing the general public and tourists to deeply experience the warmth of fireworks and the strong sense of homesickness. A series of activities for foreign friends to participate in and take photos not only provided them with a deeper understanding of the cultural connotation behind Jinan’s handmade products through in-depth experiences of intangible cultural heritage and the Yellow River market but also allowed them to experience the traditional Chinese custom of reunion and celebration. By utilizing the power of foreign friends and students, more domestic and foreign netizens can learn about and feel the Spring Festival’s excellent traditional culture and charm in Jinan.

(Li Xiaotong; Hua Shan; Gong Lili; Yuan Yuhua; Hou Yawen; Liu Xiaohan; Lou Xinyu; Han Wenzhi; Wang Xi; Yang Yang; Xu Jiayi; Liu Lu; Chong Yaqi; Li Ziyue; Chen Zeyu; Liu Qianying; Zhang Kaiyang; Wang Yuquan; Zhou Yiru; Li Jiayin; Zhang Juanyi; Zhou Nan; Zhang Xun)

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