It’s Cultural Week!
I have heard about this week but never been on Sias campus during cultural week. It is so much fun. All the foreign faculty staff play a huge role in making this week a success. Each day a different country is represented all throughout campus. Flags from the country are flown on campus. In Italian Square there are exhibits and people selling things from that country for the day. In the evenings there are many performances from that country.
I forgot what week it was and went out for my usual morning walk. As I approached Italian Square I saw crowds of people, venders, artists, students and music, and costumes. I was like a child in a candy store. There were so many beautiful things and such talent represented. I found myself wanting to buy something from each vender just to support them in their art. They were invited from all over China to this event to share their talents and sell their wares. The prices were so low I wanted everything but had to remember I also have to figure out a way to get it all home.
There was a wonderful little woman sitting on a small wooden stool tearing strands of palm tree leaves into long strands with her teeth. She wove them into grass hoppers and butterflies, put them on a long thin strand of leaf and sold them for 5 Yuan which is about 50 cents. Of course I bought some because I was in awe of what she could do with a palm leaf.
A man with a long black pony tail and thin beard and mustache was in the middle of the square with a large box and a drum and cymbals on the side of it. He wore a red traditional Chinese shirt and black pants and slippers. He was dancing and hopping while he played the cymbals and drums. Inside the box were pictures the students paid money to see. When the man danced and played it made the pictures in the box move. I think this is an ancient version of the moving picture show. I didn’t see the movie but enjoyed watching the man hop around and play the instruments.
Another woman stood at my side, she had a black piece of paper and cut a profile of my face from the paper in about 10 seconds. It was quite incredible how she could cut it so quickly and then pulled off the back and stuck it into a cardboard frame.
There were so many artists sharing their talents. In the evening there were many performances at the Roman theatre. Singers, dancers, kung fu and traditional arts were performed. I love China. I really do love the history and how so many of the people are carrying on the traditions of their fathers. I know there are many reasons for me to be here but now I am grateful to learn more about the history of this country through their arts.