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Learning Chinese language and culture through the Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival

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Colombo, September 12 - The Chinese Mid-Autumn or the Moon Festival provided a unique and joyous setting for teaching the Chinese language and enhancing knowledge of Chinese culture at the China-built Colombo Port City here.

While the Chinese Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival comes once a year, Sri Lanka’s Full Moon Festival comes once a month. On September 13 this year, China’s Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival and Sri Lanka’s Full Moon Festival will coincide, which deserved celebrations, some employees of the China Harbor Company’s Port City project felt.

On September 11, in the Chinese training classroom of the China Habour Port City Department, the Confucius Institute located at the University of Kelaniya held a Mid-Autumn Festival special Chinese training course for Sri Lankan employees in the Port City project.

To the pleasant surprise of the students, the Chinese teacher opened the session with the touching song - “May we all be blessed with longevity. And though far apart, we still share the beauty of the moon together.”

The teacher then showed a video on the Mid-Autumn-Moon Festival as observed in China so that the students have a basic understanding of the festival.

Then, Yun Zuqi, Deputy General Manager of the Port City Project Company told the students about the beautiful love story of Houyi and Yi and the origin of the Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival and the “moon cake” associated with it. Professor Wang Wanxia, the Chinese Dean of the Confucius Institute at the University of Kelaniya, said that the Colombo Port City Project is an important cooperation project between China and Sri Lanka which is also part of the “Belt and Road Initiative” of President Xi Jinping.

“It is hoped that the students will study Chinese and learn Chinese culture and promote it. Business and trade exchanges between the two countries and people to people contacts will grow as a result of knowing Chinese and Chinese culture,” Prof. Wang hoped.

Through a variety of performances and interactions, the teachers from the Confucius Institute told the students more about the Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival culture.

In the game of “finding friends”, the students found corresponding Chinese characters with pictures or English cards based on the Chinese they have studied.

The game tested the students’ knowledge of Chinese characters. At the end of the educational and entertaining game, the students reviewed the Chinese they had learned and also came to know new words.

In addition to the moon festival, the moon, and the moon cake, the Mid-Autumn Festival also taught the students how to make Chinese lanterns. The students intently followed the teacher to learn how to make simple handmade lanterns. Many students finally succeeded in making their first handmade lanterns.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, the local Human Resources Manager Duminda said that the cultural experience the students went through taught them to understand the customs and culture associated with the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival.

The students were very fortunate to be able to celebrate the Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival with teachers and students of the Kelaniya University Confucius Institute.

“Students should continue to learn Chinese and learn more about Chinese culture in the future,” Duminda said.

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