Ricefield Arts hosted our annual Chinese New Year celebrations on Sunday 17 February, this time visiting both Kelvin Hall and the Riverside Museum. We were delighted by the crowds at both venues, and the opportunity to spread awareness of Chinese culture and traditions through crafts, games and sports.

This busy programme of activity wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our hard-working volunteer team. Here, new volunteer Becca McCall shares her experience of the day, along with some great photos by Debbie.

Gong Hei Fat Choy – Happy Chinese New Year, it’s the year of the pig.

I had the wonderful experience of helping Ricefield Arts with their Chinese New Year Family Day at the Kelvin Hall on Sunday 17 February. This was my first time volunteering at one of their events and it won’t be the last. The aim of the event was to teach visitors about, and allow them to participate in, a range of popular activities and games. In order to do this effectively over 35 volunteers were recruited to help throughout the event. We all gathered in the Activity Room at 10am and were assigned to our groups, and I got the opportunity to help with the colouring competition stall with some amazing people.

The activities chosen were suitable for the whole family and proved popular with the volunteers and the visitors. As members of the general public entered the reception area of the Kelvin Hall they were encouraged to write a wish on a piece of card which was then hung from a ‘wishing tree’ set up next to our Information Desk. This is a popular New Year tradition. We hope all the wishes come true, even the one with the unicorn.

There was the shuttlecock game, which is known as jianzi and has been a popular sport in China for over 1000 years; the aim of the game is for players to keep the shuttlecock off the ground for as long as they can. All ages were more than happy to take part. We played this while setting up before the event, despite its difficulty it was very addictive to play, especially with the volunteers. We all had so much fun playing this game – I’ll definitely be investing in one of these shuttlecocks!

There were plenty of other activities for everyone; there was calligraphy demonstrations, which of course proved to be such a popular stall with plenty of people crowding around the table wanting temporary tattoos of animals and their names in Chinese. I got a purple cat with my name next to it. There was the Chopstick Challenge, Cat’s Cradle, Catch the Seven Pieces, a photo corner with lots of detailed costumes and fun props for adults and children to play with, a green corner hosted by Ricefield’s When Red, Go Green project to encourage visitors to upcycle, Chinese Zodiac, a colouring competition, stamp making and some table tennis at the back.

This was the busiest this event has ever been so far – over 900 people attended this year, a lot more than last time, which was 600. Perhaps next year it will reach over 1000! Throughout this event I got to meet extraordinary people with lots of skills and talents, some have been volunteering with Ricefield for a while and others were newcomers like me.  There was a lot of positivity surrounding the event, and I, among many other volunteers, new and old, are looking forward to the next. See you soon.

Thanks Becca! Check out more photos on our Facebook page.