An Introduction to Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节

This year Mid-Autumn Festival takes place on Thursday 1st October 2020. It celebrates what is said to be the fullest moon of the year – families typically come together to share the autumn harvest, eat mooncakes and light lanterns. The festival has a long history, with its origins in the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BCE).

Below is a short introduction to the history and customs of the festival, written by Ricefield volunteer Xiaochun Shen.

Background

The Mid-Autumn Festival has a long lineage back to ancient celestial phenomenon worship, the custom of respecting the moon. In the autumn equinox (秋分) season of the 24 solar terms, it is the ancient Moon Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival comes from the traditional Moon Festival. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with a full moon at night, corresponding to mid-September to early October in the Gregorian calendar.

The Mid-Autumn Festival became an officially recognised national holiday, probably in the Tang Dynasty. During the Tang Dynasty, the customs of the Mid-Autumn Festival became popular, and the custom of admiring the moon was combined with myths and stories such as Chang’e Flying to the Moon and Yang Guifei Turning into the Moon God.

The Mid-Autumn Festival brings together families for a yearly reunion. On the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, all families will appreciate the moon and eat moon cakes.

Customs

Worshipping the moon

Worshipping the moon is an old Chinese custom, which can be traced to the ancients worshipping the the Moon God. Since ancient times, in some areas of Guangdong, people have worshipped the moon god on the night of Mid-Autumn Festival. The whole family will worship the moon in turn, praying for blessings.

Lantern

On the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, there is a custom of lighting up lanterns to complement the moonlit scene. Every family uses bamboo sticks to make lanterns more than ten days before the festival. Various lanterns are made to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Moon cakes

Moon cakes were offered in ancient times as part of the Mid-Autumn Festival worship. Moon cakes symbolise family reunion and in present day have become a festive food of Mid-Autumn Festival.

Dragon Boat Festival Music Concert: June 2020

Ricefield Arts was delighted to host a very special Dragon Boat Festival celebration on 25th June 2020. We brought together talented performers from across Scotland for an evening of traditional Chinese music on Zoom.  This video is a selection of highlights, including performances of guzheng, guqin, pipa, bamboo flute, erhu and Peking Opera.

Watch our performers Dr Quan Gu, Yinuo Liu, Jingliang Chen, Xuanming Liang, Lawrence Dunn, Yan Shi and Haoyan Zhang.

Would you like to find out more about these unique instruments? Find out more on this blog post by Ricefield Arts volunteer Menghan.

This event was part of our wellbeing project, which aimed to inspire, entertain and bring together our community during lockdown. It was a joint celebration with our event partners Confucius Institute for Scotland and Scotland-China Association, and was supported by Scottish Government Wellbeing Fund, Corra Foundation and SCVO.

An Introduction to Traditional Chinese Instruments

We’re looking forward to our Dragon Boat Festival music concert, to be held on Thursday 25th June. To help you prepare, Ricefield Arts volunteer Menghan has written an excellent blog highlighting the long history of some of the instruments you’ll hear at the concert.

Guzheng | 古筝

The guzheng, also known as a Chinese zither, is a Chinese plucked string instrument with a more than 2,500-year history. It was the most popular instrument in China. The modern guzheng commonly has 21, 25 or 26 strings, is 64 inches (1.6 m) long, while the oldest specimen yet discovered held 13 strings and was dated to around 500 BC, possibly during the Warring States period (475–221 BC).

Guzheng players often wear fingerpicks made from materials such as plastic, resin, tortoiseshell, or ivory on one or both hands. Many people are confused with the guzheng and guqin which is actually a Chinese zither with 7 strings played without moveable bridges.

Guzheng

Pipa | 琵琶

The pipa is a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument, belonging to the plucked category of instruments. Sometimes called the Chinese lute, the instrument has a unique pear-shaped wooden body with a varying number of frets ranging from 12 to 26. The pipa is one of the most popular Chinese instruments and has been played for almost two thousand years in China.

In China, many music and stories are related to this instrument. The most prevalent one is about a beauty called Wang Zhaojun (王昭君). It is said that Wang Zhaojun began a journey northward to marry a nomad ruler. She left her hometown on horseback on a bright autumn morning and along the way, the horse neighed, making Zhaojun extremely sad and unable to control her emotions. As she sat on the saddle, she began to play sorrowful melodies on a stringed instrument. A flock of geese flying southward heard the music, saw the beautiful young woman riding the horse, immediately forgot to flap their wings, and fell to the ground. From then on, Zhaojun acquired the nickname “fells geese” or “drops birds.” Later, the melody she played on the saddle was regarded as Zhaojun’s Lament (昭君怨) and the stringed instrument was commonly depicted as a pipa.

A poem called Pipa xing (琵琶行) is also well known in China. It was written by a famous poet called Bai Juyi and it depicted a pipa performance during a chance encounter with a female pipa player on the Yangtze River. The most widely known sentences of this poem are describing the sound of pipa – the bold strings rattled like splatters of sudden rain, the fine strings hummed like lovers’ whispers, chattering and pattering, pattering and chattering, as pearls, large and small, on a jade plate fall (大弦嘈嘈如急雨,小弦切切如私语,嘈嘈切切错杂弹,大珠小珠落玉盘).

Pipa

Erhu | 二胡

The erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, more specifically a spike fiddle, which may also be called a Southern Fiddle. It is sometimes known in the Western world as the Chinese violin or a Chinese two-stringed fiddle.

The most widely known piece of erhu music in China is Two Springs Reflect the Moon (二泉映月), composed by the Wuxi folk artist Ah Bing (阿炳), whose original name was Hua Yanjun, a blind street musician. Two Springs Reflect the Moon expresses the composer’s suppressed grief at having tasted to the full the bitterness of life in the old society and it has become an exquisite example of Chinese instrumental folk music stemming from the heart of a small-town folk artist.

Erhu

Guqin | 古琴

The guqin is a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument of the zither family. It can also be called qixian-qin or seven-stringed zither (七弦琴). Similar to the guzheng above, it also has been played since ancient times, and has traditionally been favoured by scholars and literati as an instrument of great subtlety and refinement, as well as being associated with the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius. It is sometimes referred to by the Chinese as “the father of Chinese music” or ‘the instrument of the sages’.

Guqin is commonly associated with a Chinese musician Bo Ya (伯牙) and his story of  ideal Chinese friendship. It is said that Bo Ya was good at playing the qin and Zhong Ziqi was good at listening to the qin. When Bo Ya played the guqin pieces Gao Shan 《高山》(meaning ‘high mountains’) and Liu Shui 《流水》(meaning ‘flowing  water’), Zhong Ziqi could see the real mountains and feel the rivers and oceans. When Ziqi died, Bo Ya broke the strings of his qin and vowed never to play the qin again. Thus, the term Zhiyin (知音, literally ‘to know the tone’) has come to describe a close and sympathetic friend and the melody of High Mountains Flowing Water has also come to be well-known.

Guqin

Dizi  | 笛子

The dizi is a Chinese transverse flute. It is also sometimes known as the di (笛) or héngdi (横笛), and has varieties including the qǔdi (曲笛) and bāngdi (梆笛). It is a major Chinese musical instrument that is widely used in many genres of Chinese folk music, Chinese opera, as well as the modern Chinese orchestra. The dizi is also a popular instrument among the Chinese people as it is simple to make and easy to carry.

Most dizi are made of bamboo, while it is also possible to find dizi made from other kinds of wood, or even from stone, for example, Jade dizi (or 玉笛; yùdi) are popular among both collectors interested in their beauty, and among professional players who seek an instrument with looks to match the quality of their renditions.

Dizi (Bamboo Flute)

Hulusi | 葫芦丝

The hulusi is a Chinese free reed wind instrument. Unlike the bamboo instrument above, it is held vertically and has three bamboo pipes that pass through a gourd wind chest; the centre pipe has finger holes and the outer two are typically drone pipes.

The hulusi has a very pure, very mellow clarinet-like sound. It was originally used primarily in Yunnan province by a number of ethnic minority groups, and has gained nationwide popularity throughout China.

Hulusi

An Introduction to Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwujie) is a traditional festival typically celebrated in June, on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar year. This year the the festival falls on Thursday 25th June 2020.

We’re delighted to share a short introduction to this very special cultural celebration, written by Ricefield Arts volunteer Sherry.

Dragon Boat Festival is one of the four traditional Chinese festivals. According to the earliest historical materials, the original purpose of the Dragon Boat Festival was to ward off the evil spirits of the fifth lunar month, which is considered an unlucky month, always bringing natural disasters and illnesses. In addition, five poisonous creatures (green snakes, centipedes, scorpions, geckos and toads), together with dead people’s ghosts, are most likely to appear on the 5th of May. To get rid of bad luck, people hang Chung Kuei’s portraits on the door, drink Hsiung Huang Wine, bath in Moxa and wear fragrant sachets. People believe this grand celebration can protect them from evil and disease for the rest of the year.

Dragon Boat Racing at Glasgow Canal Festival in 2018

Another most popular origin story of the Dragon Boat Festival is centred around a respected government official named Chu Yuan, who threw himself into the Mi Lo River because of being tricked and becoming disfavoured by the emperor. The local people admired and respected him so much that they rushed into their boats to search for his body and they threw rice into the water so that fish and river dragons would not tear his body. Today, in memory of Chu Yuan, people take part in dragon boat racing and eat rice dumplings. Making and sharing rice dumplings is still the main family activity. Sticky rice triangular dumplings are loaded with jujube paste, bean paste, pork, ham, abalone, egg yolk, all wrapped in a large leaf and tied with string. Ancient poet Su Tungpo wrote a line for his favourite waxberry-stuffed rice dumplings, which is a flavour that cannot be found anymore (不独盘中见卢橘,时于粽里得杨梅). It is hard to imagine how it tastes; but it seems like in terms of eating, people in Song dynasty were much smarter than us.

Making zongzi rice parcels at Wing Hong Elderly Centre in 2019

Online Workshops: What to Expect

Some of our Community Workshop Leaders

Before the Workshop

After registering for one of our workshops you will receive a confirmation email, with a link to the Zoom meeting and the password you will be required to enter. Please keep this safe!

You can access Zoom meetings through the Zoom app – available for download here or from wherever you download apps on your tablet/smartphone. Please download the application in advance of the workshop, as it may take a few minutes. You don’t need to have an account to access our workshops, but you may set up one for free.

Joining the Workshop

When it’s time for the workshop, click on the link in your confirmation. Please ‘arrive’ on time. You may be prompted to enter your name and/or password, then you will be taken to the waiting room. The Workshop Host will then admit you to the meeting.

During the Workshop

During the meeting we ask you to mute your mic (we can help with this!), unless you are asking a question or we are having a group discussion. Video is required for some of workshops to allow the Workshop Leader to check on participant’s progress and offer assistance – if this is the case, it will be noted on the EventBrite listing.

The Workshop Host will introduce the workshop before handing over to the Workshop Leader. Questions during the workshop are encouraged! You can use the Zoom Chat function, and the Workshop Host will pass these on to the Workshop Leader. Or, you can wave/raise your hand and ask your question using your mic. Other key information will be shared in the Chat so keep an eye on it.

Questions

Don’t worry if you are new to Zoom (we are too!). The Workshop Host will help you if needed. If you have any questions before the workshop, contact laura [at] ricefield.org.uk. You can also read this handy guide for more information.

Volunteer blogs : Ricefield’s Chinese New Year Events 2020

Ricefield Arts had a busy month in February with our Chinese New Year celebrations programme.  This busy programme of activity wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our hard-working volunteer team.

A few of our volunteers had written blogs to share their experience taking part in and helping at our Chinese New Year events. Feel free read their blogs below. Thanks to our volunteer Debbie who helped us to take photos at Kelvin Hall & Riverside Museum too.

Volunteer blog 1:  Written by Jialin 

Chinese New Year Family Fun Day at Kelvin Hall 

Ricefield Arts organised the annual Chinese New Year celebrations with venue partner Kelvin Hall on Saturday 8 February 2020, I am honoured to be one of the volunteers with Ricefield this time, to help promoting traditional Chinese games and craft activities to visitors. Over thirty volunteers were recruited to support this event. We gathered at 10 am in the activity room in Kelvin Hall for a volunteer briefing, and headed to set up venue after.

My task of the day was to interact with the visitors at the chopstick challenge table.  The visitors who took part in the chopstick challenge were asked to pick up objects of different sizes using chopsticks, and those who completed the challenge were given fortune cookies as their reward. To my surprise, some parents are able to use chopsticks very well, and have shown their interest in Chinese food and culture. We taught many children to use chopsticks and it was fun to see the children keep practicing enthusiastically. I was really happy! ꒰ᐢ⸝⸝•-•⸝⸝ᐢ꒱

My favourite activity was the origami (paper folding) workshop beside our table. I took opportunity during my break to learn some paper folding technique from other volunteers manning the origami table. I was proud to turn a piece of square paper to a little origami rat!

There were other interesting activities being delivered as part of the event, including a lion dance performance. Watching a lion dance performance is one of the traditional customs of the Chinese New Year. Being able to see a lion dance in the UK really touched the hearts of every overseas student. The children and everyone of us enjoyed the performance.| ᐕ)⁾⁾

The event ended at four in the afternoon. I was very lucky to met many talented friends and other volunteers from Ricefield through this event. This is my first time participating in Ricefield’s activities, but it will not be the last time. I hope we will meet again next time! .^◡^.

 

Volunteer blog 2:  Written by Silin

Chinese New Year Family Fun Day at Kelvin Hall

The Chinese New Year event at Kelvin Hall was very interesting! There were many booths! Other than traditional activities like Chinese lanterns making and Chinese calligraphy writing, we also delivered interactive games such as shuttlecock kicking. There were activities suitable for different age groups, and the event was well attended by families with children.

As a volunteer at the Chinese calligraphy table, I felt that I was no longer just an ordinary volunteer, but more like a participant. I had been practising Chinese calligraphy writing throughout the event happily while demonstrating to all visitors.

The most memorable thing for me was the lion dance. As a Cantonese who is familiar with this activity, I think the lion dance was very authentic. The crowd applauded enthusiastically when they saw it, and the children were so excited to see the lion.

 

Volunteer blog 3 :  Written by Menghan

Chinese New Year Family Fun Day at Kelvin Hall

I had a wonderful experience with Ricefield Arts in their annual Chinese New Year celebrations event on 8 February. It was my first time taking part in volunteering work in Glasgow and also in the UK. I really enjoyed the volunteering experience and also meeting many new friends there.

Chinese New Year Celebration is an annual event of Ricefield Arts to engage with the diverse communities through cultural sharing. As a volunteer, we enjoyed the opportunity given to us to interact with the local communities through delivering activities. 35 volunteers were recruited to support this event, and all of us were asked to gather in the Kelvin Hall at 10am on that day for preparation works. We displayed a traditional lion head, which represents good luck and fortune, on the information booth to attract visitors. There was also a wishing tree beside the information booth for visitors to make a wish.

I was mainly based at the lantern making workshop during the event.  This activity was most popular with children, and we had been extremely busy. We taught them how to make their own paper lanterns step-by-step. It was meaningful for me to teach someone to learn about a traditional Chinese craft such as making lanterns.  Children were so happy to leave the table with the lanterns they made themselves.

I have learnt a lot through this event. Although I was a newcomer for Ricefield Arts, I believe that I would keep volunteering with them in the future. Thank you and see you soon!

 

Volunteer blog 4:  Written by Nancy 

Chinese New Year Family Fun Day at Riverside Museum

We had a busy day delivering activities at the Chinese New Year event at the Riverside Museum. The event was on the last day of Chinese New Year period, which also known as ‘The Lantern Festival’. Because of that, ‘The Street’ inside the Riverside Museum was decorated with a lot of red lanterns, and we delivered lantern making as one of our activities. Our volunteers showed the process of making simple Chinese lanterns to visitors, and guided the children to make, design and decorate their own paper lanterns. This activity was popular among children and we believe this type of craft activity stimulated children’s creativity.

This year is the Chinese Year of the Rat. We hosted a few Chinese zodiac animals storing telling session for children inside the subway station. We also had a Chinese zodiac booth for visitors to find out their Chinese zodiac animals, and its corresponding meaning on the display boards we have made in advance.

We also had a photo booth corner for visitors to try Chinese traditional clothing ‘Hanfu’. Volunteers had a great time demonstrating colourful Hanfu to the visitors. They also helped those interested to try on and took photos. . Different designs of Hanfu in ancient China reflected different life styles and social status. For example, the style of Hanfu worn by the emperor and the royal family would look very different.

Overall, the event has been very successful, bringing people a lot of fun while sharing the beauty of Chinese culture.

Volunteer blog 5:  Written by Sherry 

Chinese New Year Workshops at Princes Square

It was the first time I participated in Ricefield’s event. We delivered some craft activities at the courtyard inside the Princes Square to celebrate Chinese New Year. The courtyard was transformed and featured a lovely pagoda and red carpets. Families were invited to take part in a series of Chinese craft workshops. 

My main task was to teach people to make a lantern, and most of them were children. To be honest, I never made a lantern on my own before, so I was shown the technique and quickly learnt to make a few before the workshop. When I started making one with a group of children by my side, I felt that the whole process was manageable and incredibly calming.

I heard there were other craft workshops, such as dragon puppet and CNY hanging decoration making, being delivered by Ricefield Arts at Princes Square on other days too. I took part in the activities on Sunday 2nd February, Other than the lantern making, we also had Chinese calligraphy demonstration and chopstick games, which were hugely enjoyable as well.

Back in China, I’ve never cherished my own culture so much as I did in princess square that day. Being surrounded by the crowd who was attracted by our craft stalls and with many asking us questions about china makes me realised how attractive Chinese culture is. I was overwhelmingly delightful to see Chinese culture being appreciated by local residents. As the old song goes ‘I belong to Glasgow…, Glasgow belongs to me….’ This volunteering opportunity provided an opportunity for me to connect to this magnificent city. 

 

Volunteer blog 6:  Written by Zhengduo

Chinese New Year Event at Perth 

On 2nd February, I participated in Ricefield’s Chinese Yew year activity in Perth, as part of the Winter Festival Night Lights event. I was pleased with that, and it was an excellent experience for me.

I found the information from WeChat group several days before the activity. I signed up without hesitation. What’s more, since I have been to Scotland, I didn’t go to any city farther north than Glasgow. This was an excellent chance to visit another city in Scotland.

We were asked to arrive at the meeting point 30 minutes before departure. We helped to moved all stock into the minibus. Interestingly, I came across three big pots of hot water within our stock, and I did not know what would we do with them. It took us about 1 hour to travel to Perth by minibus. On the way, I found it was raining outside. When we arrived in Perth, the weather didn’t get better, and I also felt cold.

However, the weather could not stop our passion, and everyone seemed to be very happy and full of expectation. At that time, I knew why I was told to wear my warm coat before the departure and why we brought the hot water! The event took place at the Norrie Miller Walk, a beautiful riverside local park in Perth. All volunteers were assigned tasks on arrival and we started to set up. We had a merchandise stall to sell Chinse arts and crafts merchandise at the event. We also delivered some traditional craft activities, and as ‘Bookmark Making’, ‘Paper Dragon Making’, ‘Learn About Your Chinese Name’, etc to engage with the visitors.

After a simple dinner, the celebration began. In the beginning, everyone was so shy that no one came to see us. However, as time went by, we successfully attracted the first one, then, more and more people came to us. It was a hectic day. During the activity, there were a few interesting things. As we got an activity to help visitors to find their Chinese names, and we also helped them to write their Chinese names on the bookmark. Sometimes, we found these two names were totally different. I had to explain to them what was a transliterated name and what was a translated name. Then I faced another problem. A local woman was very interesting Chinese words, and she found characters projected to the ground, and she took the photo to ask me. To be honest, it was so difficult because those characters were completely upside down after the projection. I finally understood them with the help of other volunteers, but another question was, how could I translate these Chinese idioms into English. I tried my best to explain. Luckily, she finally understood what I meant and  left happily.

I thought this was a meaningful activity. This is not only promoting Chinese traditional culture but also gave me a deeper understanding of cultural knowledge. I feel more confident with my interpersonal skill through the face-to-face communications with the local communities, and I was also very impressed with the friendliness of the Scottish people. I am now a member of Ricefield’s marketing group, and I hope that I can do my best to help promoting Chinese culture, to engage with people from different cultures, while improving my communication skills.

 

Woodland Learning Trip 2019 – Queen Elizabeth Forest Park

We organised an outdoor learning trip  to Queen Elizabeth Forest Park in August, where we learnt more about Scotland landscapes, scenery, wildlife, plants, nature, and the unpredictable weather! This trip has been supported by Forestry Commission for us to learn more about woodlands in Scotland, thank you for giving us this amazing experience.

Our day out was packed with various “adventurous” activities such as forest walks, bird-watching,  foraging, wooden carving, etc.  It was fair to categorise this as an “adventure” for our group, considering many of us have never experienced any form of woodland-based activity.

Ricefield volunteer Debbie McCall has written a blog to share her experience:

Our adventure began at 9am on Sunday 18th August!

Around 17 of the Ricefield team met up at Partick station and from there we all traveled by mini bus – except James and Lin who took the car. Food sorted. Raincoats packed. We were prepared to explore the Scottish wilderness, in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. Lots of misty hills, forests and lochs.

Our first location was the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, known as the gateway to Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.

We took plenty of pictures of the waterfall, stepping on the boulders and pushing through the foliage.  We then took shelter in a little bird hide and observed the birdies eating and tweeting away. The birds were tiny and adorable, from the Chaffinches, Goldcrests, Blue tits and other small woodland birds. At one point a little mouse was spotted munching on the peanuts. The gift shop was very popular – lots of cute soft toys were purchased and the views from around here were breathtaking.

The rain didn’t dampen our spirits. It is Scotland after all, when does it not rain?

Back to the mini bus! We started our journey to explore 3 lochs forest drive, a 7 mile long Forest Drive that took us past three picturesque lochs.

Our first Loch was Lochan Reòidhte, where two dogs were having a whale of a time, jumping in and out of the water. There were some stunning views at this location especially with the misty clouds so low over the hills. We took plenty of photos…mostly of the dogs.

Our next loch was Loch Drunkie. We were hungry and had our much anticipated lunch and snacks. At this point the heavens opened and the rain was a torrential downpour. But we didn’t mind the soggy sandwiches or the squelching mud. This was a true Scottish summer.

During our stroll we discovered a strange instrument in the middle of the pathway. This was like a wooden arch where you pulled at the ropes and rang bells, making all sorts of musical sounds. Lots of catchy tunes were made.

Also we discovered that it’s not always best to avoid the puddles on the path by jumping onto the grass. The forest though looked very mystical, with the long grass, vibrant green moss, toadstools and tall trees that almost touched the clouds.

The third and final Loch was Loch Achray. The weather cleared up and there was finally a glimmer of sunshine. This Loch was surrounded by beautiful Scottish heather which we took a few stems as souvenirs.

To the mini bus!

Our final destination! No it wasn’t the gift shop… though it was very pretty.

It was in fact the wonderful woodcraft workshop with the Green Aspirations team, which took place in a rustic, handmade wooden hut in woodland at Balfron Station.

Paul had given us an introduction to all the tools and how to use them and their limited supply of star wars plasters which all got used. Paul and his team mate, Ian, went through the steps in creating wooden bowls, spoons or my personal favourite… the wands!

These guys were experts therefore made all the whittling and carving look incredibly easy…. it wasn’t. Though it was highly addictive.

There was water boiling in the iron kettle where, at one point,  wild nettle plants were picked and nettle tea was made, which I’ve been told is very good for you! Marshmallows were also roasted on the small fire.

Wood crafting can be addictive! Everyone was really focused on their crafting and some really didn’t want to leave!

We all had a great time with the Green Aspirations Team, and learnt some new skills!

We’ll definitely be back again!

Click here to view more photos of this trip from our Facebook Album.

Volunteer Blog: Ricefield Arts at Mela Festival 2019

Glasgow Mela is Scotland’s biggest free multicultural festival, bursting with live music, theatre performances, exotic mouth-watering foods from around the globe and fun for all ages. We had a busy day running our arts and crafts stall, delivering kite making workshop, and supporting kite flying activity at the festival. Some of our volunteers wore traditional “HanFu” to demonstrate Ancient Chinese clothing from Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)

Here, our volunteer Aswad  Choudhry shares his experience of the day.

It was a great opportunity to be able to help out with a wonderful organisation that I’ve been a part of since 2017 and I thought it would be a great idea to help them out with their many activities planned this year in the annual Glasgow Mela on Sunday 23rd June 2019.

The day started at 11:30 in the morning where we were all served delicious pizza before a long day of hard work ahead of us. There were various activities that was offered to the members of the general public such as kite making for the young ones (and adults too) where they can take their completed creations and fly it at the Picnic Hill area in the Kelvingrove Park.

 

There was also a merchandise store on offer from Ricefield Arts where we sold different types of Chinese arts and crafts items which I found really cool and the people passing by were also fascinated by what was on offer.

I had the chance to take photographs of the activities that were taking place along with being able to also help out in the kite making stall and finally flying a kite in Kelvingrove Park which I’ve never done before. I really enjoyed the kite making stall and seeing the members of the public also having a wonderful time in making the kites in different shapes and sizes.

Overall it was a wonderful experience of once again volunteering with Ricefield Arts and would definitely recommend new members to volunteer and help out as you wouldn’t be disappointed and I’m looking forward to the next event.

Volunteer Blog: Chinese New Year at Kelvin Hall 2019

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.

Year of the Pig Colouring Competition Winners

We were delighted to return to Kelvin Hall and the Riverside Museum on Sunday 17 February 2019 to host our annual Chinese New Year Family Day celebrations. Our busy activity programme ranged from Chinese hanfu clothing and calligraphy, to games, sports and crafts – alongside a very special colouring competition!

Our team of Ricefield artists reviewed all the colourful entries, and we are now happy to announce our lucky winners. A big congratulations to all three of them – each will receive a Chinese gift set with sweets, treats and crafts.

First place – Stella

Second place: Lucy/Douglas

Third place: Lara

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