Chinese New Year 2017 Celebrations at Kelvin Hall and Kelvingrove Museum
Celebrating Chinese New Year is always a highlight in Ricefield’s busy calendar, and this year was certainly no exception. We worked with Kelvin Hall and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to plan a fun afternoon with drop-in craft workshops for families, and a showcase of various interactive traditional Chinese indoor and outdoor games for the local communities.
The event on Sunday 5th February was also a personal highlight for me, as this was the first time I’ve been able to volunteer with Ricefield and the amazing team during the Spring Festival period. I turned up excited to learn more!
Our team of over 20 volunteers and I started setting up at 10am, getting Kelvin Hall’s sports hall fit for a party. Lanterns were hung, and the red tablecloths were out. The fortune cookies were waiting and the music was on. At 12pm we were ready to go.
I worked at the Welcome Table (lacking any sort of sporting skill) and visitors had a serious challenge facing them when they arrived. Ricky the Rooster was looking for his 11 zodiac animal friends, and you could collect them by trying each of the activities on offer. Families were sent off with their sticker sheets on a mission!
First stop was the Wishing Tree, to collect the snake. Traditionally wishes and hopes for the new year are written and tied on to the tree, and the higher it is hung the more likely it is to come true. We had some lovely messages wishing for health and happiness, several lego and Rapunzel set requests, and my favourite for ‘a whole year of pizza’.
My personal favourite activity in Kelvin Hall was Catching Seven Pieces (抓石子). Else, Ricefield’s Chair, remembered playing this traditional game as a child with a collection of pebbles, and she was definitely the expert. We played this time around small pouches of rice, and players used their strategy and dexterity to juggle and try to catch all seven. I was pretty awful, but I’ll be practicing for next year!
Also on offer was a Chopsticks Challenge, where visitors tested their kuaizi skills against increasingly small and fiddly objects. Maybe we’ll stick to noodles in the future. On the next table over you could try Tangram (七巧板). This game was invented in China during the Song Dynasty, and has grown in popularity in Europe after first being brought here by trading ships in the 19th century. Players try to rearrange flat shapes to create new images and patterns. Simple to understand, but hard to master. There was also a Memory Game with the famous red envelopes given as presents at Chinese New Year. The colour red is a symbol of good luck, and the gift is given to ward off evil spirits. Players tried to match the red envelopes into pairs, in a special new year version of the game often played here with cards.
Classic Chinese board games such as Chinese Chequers (中国跳棋) and The Game of Go (围棋) were in full swing, and some of our volunteers were outsmarted by some very well-practiced children. I learned more about Go, and was particularly impressed that is the oldest board game still being played today, having been invented in China approximately 2,500 years ago. In ancient times it was considered one of the four essential arts of aristocratic society. We’re very sophisticated here at Ricefield!
Our more athletic visitors played a Shuttlecock Game (踢毽子) and Ping Pong (乒乓球), joined by two trainees from Kelvin Hall. There was also Bamboo Dancing (竹竿舞), accompanied by the sound of drums. This dance requires some skill, as dancers follow and step along with the rhythmic movement of the bamboo poles. This dance is popular with the Chinese Li minority ethic group, where the dancing can last late into the night on special occasions. It seemed that our visitors were no strangers to the dance floor.
Over the road in Kelvingrove Museum the celebrations continued. Families had a chance to try some New Year-themed crafts, including decorating a lion head with Ricefield co-founder Lin and making dragon puppets to take home. Both creatures are very important symbols, with Chinese guardian lions (狮) having strong protective powers, and the dragon representing power, strength and good fortune. All very important components for a successful year!
After this journey, visitors returned to the wishing tree, to unite Ricky with his zodiac animal friends and be rewarded with a fortune cookie for all their hard work. It was great to see everyone’s enthusiasm and to hear how much they’d enjoyed all the new experiences. I bet we have some Game of Go fans playing on their mobile phone now!
This event marks almost one year of my volunteering with Ricefield, and it made for a great anniversary. Bringing together the whole team of volunteers, ranging from students from China and beyond studying in Glasgow, to Glaswegians looking to learn some more about Chinese culture, was a great display of Ricefield’s diversity. I’ve learned so much over this past year (my origami skills have never been better!), and met some interesting people. Its the mixed talents of this team that made this Chinese New Year event such a success and made the long day of work very worthwhile.
What a way to start my own zodiac year. 新年快乐！
This post was written by Ricefield volunteer Laura Matheson.
To see more images from our 2017 Chinese New Year event, please visit our Facebook page.
Mid-Autumn Festival recap
On 17th September, we hosted a Chinese Dessert Tasting Night to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival with a wonderfully diverse group of people at The Project Cafe. There were 24 of us and everyone learned about the history of Mid-Autumn Festival, how mooncake came about and witnessed a semi-formal way of preparing and serving tea. Mid-Autumn Festival is the second biggest celebration in Chinese culture. It celebrates the harvesting of food and is a time when families reunite to enjoy good food and each other’s company. The famous mooncake was served and a favourite amongst the guests. We were lucky to have a bright full moon to gaze upon while our Marie, Ricefield’s Chair, recited her favourite poem called Thoughts in the Silent Night by famous Chinese poet Li Bai. This event is part of Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA)’s Cooking Pot programme of which we have been a part of since its inception a year ago!
Here is the menu from the night:
Mid-Autumn Festival: Chinese Dessert Night
中秋节特别活动 – 东方甜点之夜
17th September 2016 @ The Project Café
Programme & Dessert Menu
Drinks Reception – Special Longan Coconut Juice Mocktail/Nibbles
To start – Chrysanthemum Crystal Jelly 菊花燕菜糕
Mid-Autumn Festival Introduction – Mooncake Tasting/ Storytelling 品尝月饼/ 中秋节故事
Chinese Tea Tasting –Oolung/ Ti Kuan Yin/ Orange Ruffle Flowering Tea乌龙茶/铁观音/花茶
Bakery – Taro Steamed Bun/Ma Lai Gou Sponge Cake /Pandan Cake蒸芋头包/ 马来糕/班兰蛋糕
Dessert soup – Milky Bean Curd Barley Soup / Classic Red Bean Soup 腐竹糖水/ 红豆沙
To end – Oriental fruits 水果 (Snow Pear)
Here is a recap of our day at Glasgow Mela from Ricefield Volunteer, Laura Matheson:
‘Sunday 17 July was definitely one of my most memorable days volunteering with Ricefield so far, even if it also was the most busy! It was finally Glasgow Mela festival time, and after appearing at many Mela on Your Doorstep events, we were all excited for the main event.
The team started early (although, admittedly I was one of the lucky ones on the afternoon shift) transporting an array of crafts supplies, snacks and general Chinese goodies over from Ricefield HQ to Kelvingrove Park, praying the wet weather would stay off for the day. Our two stalls were set up without any rain, very luckily for those in the outdoor Kids Zone! The crowds grew quickly at 12pm when the festival began, and suddenly the park was alive with sound, colour and the smells of food from around the world. Ricefield got our dance moves out once again to celebrate, and started the day off with a traditional lion dance.
Over at our sales stall, historical Chinese costumes were hung up, the magic calligraphy mats were unraveled and the lanterns were out in every shape and size. We were in a great position to enjoy the entertainment, across from one of the many stages showcasing international music and dance. I had to concentrate however, as my main focus for the day was our raffle tickets, tucked inside the red envelopes you may be familiar with from Chinese New Year. I was very happy to award our grand prize; a personalised calligraphy scroll, as well as sharing Chinese lucky sweets. The calligraphy team were busy as always, with Lu and Shu teaching characters and creating very popular temporary Chinese tattoos. Next to them festival-goers could try out Chinese costumes from throughout the dynasties, and we were lucky to have quite a few emperors at the stall. Somehow, we also managed to fit in selling a selection of Chinese treats, including fortune cookies and kites, with all funds going back into supporting Ricefield’s work.
The other half of our hardworking team spent the day under a tree, teaching children (and interested adults!) Chinese crafts. Huiyun shared her origami skills, Charlie helped build paper lanterns, while Clarinda taught the crowds how to make their own Chinese kites. The scene itself was magical, as the lanterns dangled from the tree and people tested their new creations in the breeze. It perhaps wasn’t sunny, but this was picturesque enough I think!
Getting to experience the festival from the perspective of a volunteer really made the day special for me, as I appreciated not only highlighting Chinese culture, but also being part of this wider celebration of Glasgow’s diversity and multiculturalism. I enjoyed chatting to visitors about China, while eating some amazing Indian ice cream and sharing Mexican tacos, and finishing it off by watching some Bhangra dancing. It really was a day to reflect on Glasgow as an international city, making Ricefield’s work with Chinese communities and culture seem all the more vital as part of our shared growth.’
To see more of our photos from Glasgow Mela, you can visit our Facebook page.
Summer Arts Festival events
We had a fantastic time at the Mela Festival and we are continuing to deliver Chinese art and craft activities in various communities in Glasgow throughout July!
23 July, 12-4pm – Alexandra Park in Dennistoun
24 July, 12-4pm– Springburn Park in Springburn
30 July, 12-5pm – The Bridge Easterhouse – 10 year celebration
Hope to see you there!
We are also hosting our next Cooking Pot food event: Mid-Autumn Festival – Chinese Dessert Night on Saturday 17 September at The Project Cafe from 7-9pm!
Mela on Your Doorstep
Ricefield is very pleased to be involved with Glasgow’s Mela Festival this year, and on Sunday 22 & 29 May we were happy to offer a taster of what it’s all about. For our second date, we joined the diverse Mela on Your Doorstep programme at Netherton Community Centre, from Bhangra dancing and henna tattoos to Ayawara drummers and Bollywood. You could find Ricefield’s iconic red tables in the cafe, alongside the delicious free curry. From there, we wanted to share a range of Chinese culture, and used crafts to get visitors (children and adults welcome!) involved. Charlie and Andrew taught guests how to make their own decorative Chinese lanterns, while I helped with Year of the Monkey themed colouring in. Hui Yun was our origami expert, giving children the chance to learn to make simple paper hearts, to (in my opinion!) more difficult hats and birds. Else was guiding calligraphy lessons, and offering very popular Chinese tattoos; you could spot her artwork on arms throughout the centre. All of our visitors left with their own piece of Chinese craft as a Mela souvenir, and hopefully having learned a little bit more about China. For us volunteers, however, the most memorable moment of the day was definitely taking part in the Mela procession, where we created our own Ricefield lantern dance. We were maybe not as talented as the other amazing performers, but its the enthusiasm that counts!
The next Mela on Your Doorstep event will be on 10 July 2016 at the Tramway.
Ricefield will return for the main event, Glasgow Mela, on 17 July 2016.
Come along and join us at Kelvingrove Park.
Written by Laura Matheson
If you would like to volunteer with us at the Mela Festival this year, please sign up here by 13th July 2016, 5pm.
Check out more photos of our Mela events here on our Facebook page
Chinese Vegetarian Potluck Dinner
Here is a recap of our Chinese Vegetarian Potluck Dinner from Ricefield Volunteer, Laura Matheson:
“On Wednesday 25 May, I joined Ricefield at the Project Cafe for their annual vegetarian potluck dinner, carrying my tupperware of spring onion pancakes. The cafe was a great spot in the evening sunshine and the smell of fried noodles was very inviting, as was the over flowing dessert table! This year’s event was part of CCA’s Cooking Pot, and the variety of dishes we shared was definitely in keeping with this programme. Marie, our Chair, welcomed our guests from all over Glasgow, before we gave our own introductions. Ya Hong very kindly brought two dishes, a cucumber salad and potato pancakes, while Else showed off her husband’s excellent, Malaysian-inspired coconut dessert. Family played a part in Marie’s dish also, with her mother offering a helping hand earlier for her red bean soup. Chantel’s traditional Emperor’s Rice Pudding doubled as an art project, where she sent us home with the recipe and challenged us to rival her cooking skills. Sadly, Bella and I were newbies to Chinese cooking, but there wasn’t much of our pancakes and shredded potatoes left at the end of the night either! My favourite part of the dinner wasn’t just the food, but having a chance to share the memories attached to our dishes and to learn more about each other. And of course, home cooked food is the best kind of food. I think we can say for sure that no one left hungry, and that we were all a little inspired to try to bring a bit more of China into our cooking.”
May-June 2016 Cooking Pot Events
Upcoming Ricefield + Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) Cooking Pot events for May-June 2016:
Chinese Dumpling Night with Ricefield
12 May 2016, 7:30pm
£8 + booking fee
Ricefield Chinese Vegetarian Potluck Dinner
25 May 2016, 6pm
Ricefield: Making Dragon Boat Zongzi
9 June 2016, 7:30pm
£8 + booking fee
Wonton Night with Ricefield
30 June 2016, 7:30pm
£8 + booking fee
The first dumpling workshop is part of Voluntary Arts Week and is run by our amazing volunteers who will teach their version of Chinese dumplings and share stories of their family traditions around dumplings and dumpling-making.
All of these workshops are also part of the exciting CCA Cooking Pot project, to find out more please visit the programme at http://www.cca-glasgow.com/programme/55c8c46a97f38a3d20000002
CCA invites you to join in with Cooking Pot, a new project which will build a community of people who are passionate about food – making, sharing, eating and enjoying. Alongside a programme of events, we’re also looking for participants of all ages, talents and backgrounds to share recipes, cookery skills, tricks and tips with us, which we’ll document in video and text on cca-glasgow.com.
2016 Chinese New Year Activities
Are you interested in Chinese art and culture?
Do you have some spare time and would like to volunteer, meet new people and gain valuable experience?
We are looking for new volunteers to help with our Chinese New Year events in Scotland. Lunch will be provided on the event day. For our events at Edinburgh and Perth, we have arranged a van to go together as a group from Glasgow and come back together.
Monday 25 Jan 2016 – Chinese calligraphy (Fai Chun) family activity with NG Homes (4:45pm-6pm)
24th Jan 2016 or 30th Jan 2016 – Volunteers Training and Induction Day 义工培训日 (10:30am-3pm)
31st Jan 2016- Preparation Day for Chinese New Year events 春节活动筹备工作日
5th Feb 2016 – Chinese New Year celebration in Edinburgh 爱丁堡新春活动 (10am-4:30pm)
6th Feb 2016- Chinese New Year celebration in Perth 珀斯新春活动 (9:30am-5:30pm)
7th Feb 2016- Chinese New Year celebration in Glasgow 格拉斯哥新春活动 (10:30am-2pm or 1:30pm-5pm)
25 Feb 2016 – Chinese New Year activity at Wing Hong elderly centre (10-11am)
Recruiting VAF Project Volunteers
VAF Project – A New Initiative for Ricefield Arts & Cultural Centre
Ricefield has developed a plan for 2015 and early 2016 which involves diversification and development of the services we provide. We have been conducting extensive research into the changing needs of the Chinese community in Glasgow and have decided to focus on the following areas: Volunteering, Older people, and Welfare & Benefits Advice
Our research has highlighted that these are areas where few Chinese people are accessing mainstream services but where there is growing need. Our initial project will involve the recruitment and training of volunteers particularly from within the Chinese community who fall within these demographics or who display an interest or experience of working with these client groups. The volunteers will initially support the research and development of two particular area:
- Senior Social Activities Club
- Welfare and Benefit Advice within Community
The volunteers will form part of a research and development team under each project area and will receive an induction, governance training, learn about project development and how to conduct community research/consultation into their chosen area of focus. Volunteers will develop the services supported by our Volunteer Project Coordinator with the clear aim that they will take ownership of their chosen project area (either older people’s services or Welfare and Benefit Advice) long term using Ricefield’s resources and connections.
The project will look to involve young people 16-25 as well as older people up to 65 in this project to enhance and improve intergenerational relationships. The young people can help in either project and will be supported to work towards ‘Saltire Awards’ and enhancing their CVs.
The recruitment of volunteers in the VAF Project is ongoing and will carry on to service for those in need to beat isolation within our community. We are now recruiting:
- Senior Social Activities Coordinators – To create, plan and organise activities such as Chinese and Asian Arts, Music, Calligraphy, Plant seedlings, incorporate with Ricefield Workshops to run the once fortnightly sessions within the local Chinese Elderly Centres and other Community Groups in Garnethill and North of Glasgow area.
- Event and Community Coordinators – To help with planning, setting up of Events, liaise with participant groups, communication and public relations work.
- Researchers on Welfare and Benefits Advice– To assist and develop the work of liaison in between clients / users with Welfare Benefit Advisers from public sectors, such as NHS, Citizen Advice, DWP, Job Centres, Referrals, etc. based on one to one sessions.
Please sign up on the Volunteer page or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and state the particular roles from the above you are interested in. Thank you for volunteering with this diverse and meaningful project to help beat isolation within our older community members.
There are regular volunteering opportunities at Ricefield. If you would like to propose a period of volunteering in order to gain valuable experience and be added to our volunteer database, please fill in the form below or contact: email@example.com