Calligraphy and flowers combine for festival

The Chinese Calligraphy Club is welcoming spring at Friday’s Huazhao  Festival. The traditional Chinese festival will be held from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the Mathers Museum. The event is free and open to the public.

Sixue Yang, the Chinese Calligraphy Club’s activity director, said the festival dates back to ancient China and is based on a tradition to celebrate “the birthday of flowers” and to “welcome the spring.”

In the ancient festival, girls would go to the temple to honor the goddess of flowers, praying for good luck, Yang said. Flowers are the main theme of the festival.

The Chinese Calligraphy Club is a student organization that teaches people how to practice traditional Chinese calligraphy and introduces the community to Chinese culture.

The festival is a way to celebrate different kinds of flowers and learn about Chinese culture and traditions, Yang said. She compared the festival to “a garden party,” and said it is a good opportunity to spend time with family or friends.

The exhibition will feature a variety of activities and events, such as crafts, games and performances. Yang said the activities include demonstrations of Chinese calligraphy, doing hands-on crafts such as painting, solving riddles, listening to a musical performance featuring traditional Chinese instruments and watching an artistic tea preparation ceremony.

There will also be free food and drinks and several games in which people can earn points to exchange for a prize.

Judith Kirk, the assistant director at the Mathers Museum, said she is excited for the festival to begin. She said the welcoming of the spring appealed to her, especially after a long winter.

“It’s a way to just recognize that this change of seasons is always an opportunity for us to get out and experience something new,” she said.

Kirk said the event fits in well with the museum’s objective of providing knowledge about world cultures, in this case from “individuals who have an innate understanding of their culture and want to share it.”

“We’re always looking for opportunities to have programs and events that help us all better understand cultures,” she said.

Yang said she would like people who are unfamiliar with the Chinese culture to attend the event. She said the event was designed for people to acquire a basic understanding of culture through the experience, rather than limiting the event to those who are already immersed in Chinese traditions and culture.

“We want to introduce our culture to the people here,” she said.

Chinese Calligraphy Club president Xin Liao said the Huazhao festival is not a commonly observed festival in China, but it has re-emerged in recent years.

She said she enjoys how the festival cherishes the beauty of nature.

“My favorite part of the event is how all the activities and events are about flowers,” she said.

Liao said she wants the festival to inspire a particular understanding about the Chinese culture.

“We’re just wanting people to know that the Chinese culture is beautiful,” she said.

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