Friday Features - June 13, 2014

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Friday Features
June 13, 2014

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Confucius Institute celebrates Dragon Boat Day

Dragon Boat Day is a traditional holiday that some believe commemorates the life and death of the famous Chinese scholar Qu Yuan (Chu Yuan). The day officially falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar but is celebrated on different dates around the world. The UW-Platteville Confucius Institute chose to celebrate the day on May 31. 

The celebration kicked off with community members gathered around a large kitchen countertop enjoying the hands-on experience of making Zongzi — a traditional Dragon Boat festival dish made with funnel shaped bamboo leaves filled with sticky rice and, depending on the region, dried dates, beans, pork, mushroom, egg, poultry, etc. This unique and difficult dish to master was led step by step with Chef Shujin Judy Yeh and then appreciated by all.

Many of the participants expressed positive comments about the day, including Justine Souto of Madison, Wis., who wrote, “Thank you again for the wonderful activities for Dragon Boat Day. My nephew and I found that the Zongzi were fun and easy to make. He especially had a knack for wrapping his up in the bamboo leaves. Judy is a great cook and teacher and encouraged all of us to get involved. My nephew is one-quarter Chinese so what better way for him to get excited to explore this part of his culture than through sharing good food with great people. I’d like to thank Confucius Institute for making this activity available to the community and for broadening our understanding of Chinese culture.”

In the afternoon, Joy Chen presented a lively, artistic program of Chinese dance and history, using traditional dress and music, and photos and images from her travels in China. 

“It was a wonderful experience for me to listen to Don, an American, explaining the Chinese culture,” said Kathy Zhang, instructor for the Confucius Institute. “We can always know more about who we are through the eyes of others. Joy Chen is an amateur dancer, but she touched our hearts with her passion for dancing and her best efforts to achieve her dream — dancing on different stages. Her constant smile while dancing shows her true happiness of doing what she truly loves.”

For more information about the Confucius Institute and to register for events, visit the Confucius Institute online or call (888) 281-9471 (toll free). For program information, contact the UW-Platteville Confucius Institute at (608) 342-1310 or confucius@uwplatt.edu.

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