Students of the School of Asian Studies rang in the Korean and Chinese New Years, respectively, with lively celebrations this past week.
On February 7, second-year students of the Korean programme rang in the Korean New Year, or Seollal (marked by first day of the Korean lunar calendar), with music and games.
The party commenced with a performance by the second-year students of a popular Korean children’s New Year’s song, followed by a colorful presentation about the holiday and games. Then, after many practice runs, the first-year students in attendance performed two Korean songs and presented a funny short film in the style of popular Korean dramas.
Of course, no party would be complete without some trivia or contests with prizes. Students participated in a contest to see who could eat with chopsticks the fastest, played Korean-themed charades (or “crocodile” as it is called in Russian), and held a Korean vocabulary contest, which particularly roused the crowd.
The celebration was attended not only by students but instructors as well as Korean exchange students who are studying in the Russian Language Centre at HSE.
On February 8, the Chinese Club celebrated the Chinese New Year (Chūn Jié, 春节) with games and two guest lecturers.
Students participated in a trivia contest on traditional Chinese characters and Chinese history with coveted prizes from the event’s sponsors—books from the Chinese book store Shans Boku and tea from the Tea Quarter.
The event featured two special guests. Li Junxiang, correspondent of the China Radio International, told students about the traditions and superstitions associated with Chūn Jié. Students learned, for example, that people wear red on the holiday in order to ward off the mythical beast Nian.
Fan Fei, an editor and translator at RT news agency spoke about the complexities of transliteration (a topic he also spoke about recently at the international interpreters’ forum, Global Dialogue). These complexities, Fan Fei joked, are not to be taken lightly as they can create problems even with passing through customs, so it is important to the exact transliteration rules.
The gathering concluded with tea and lively conversation, where participants had the opportunity to meet scholars of Chinese studies from different universities.
Students of the School of Asian Studies and other departments alike will no doubt look forward to HSE’s annual Oriental Crazy Day, a celebration of Asian cultures hosted by the School of Asian Studies and the HSE Lyceum. The event will take place this summer.