Foreign students learn to paint Peking Opera facial masks in a celebration at Shanghai Community International School. (Jiang Xiaowei/SHINE)
Over 500 foreign students and their teachers took part in a series of traditional celebrations for the coming Chinese New Year in downtown Changning District in Shanghai today.
The Hongqiao Subdistrict organized the event at Shanghai Community International School, where students and teachers were encouraged to guess lantern riddles, make sugar figures, learn to write the Chinese character fu (blessing), paint traditional masks and make rice cakes.
These celebrations are traditional cultural events in various Chinese provinces for Chinese New Year, which falls next Friday.
The event aims to let foreign students feel the traditional Chinese culture and the festive celebration, according to the subdistrict.
"I am quite impressed by the dragon dance as well as the spun sugar and other traditional events," said Ryan Grady, a senior student from the United States who studies at the school. Grady said though he has been in the city for nine years, it was rare for him to witness and take part in such traditional celebrations.
"I'm willing to learn these traditional skills and help to promote them," the 17-year-old said.
"I think the mask painting is very cool," said Sofia Rizzoli, a ninth grade freshman. A craftsman painted the Peking Opera facial masks and taught students how to make their own. Rizzoli, from Italy, said she has learnt Mandarin and Chinese cultures that she feels are interesting.