Eager young culture lovers have been helping a university institute mark two special anniversaries in one go.
Schools from the area visited the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the global Confucius Institute which promotes Chinese language and culture in local communities.
The event also marked the fifth anniversary of the Preston-based university’s own Confucius Institute.
Pupils from primary and secondary schools were invited to take part in Tai Chi and martial arts lessons, watch a lion dance, sing Chinese songs and try their hands at kite flying.
Some of them also took part in a Jianzi competition, which uses a device similar to a shuttlecock to play a form of ‘keepy uppy’, and learned more about Chinese geography and the many costumes worn by some of China’s 56 ethnic groups.
Shannon Gallacher, 12, from Our Lady’s Catholic College in Lancaster, said: “I really enjoyed the dancing lions and martial arts demonstrations as I’ve never seen anything like it before, it was amazing. I didn’t know much about Chinese culture before today so it’s been a real eye opener.”
Feixi Yu, director of UCLan Confucius Institute, added: “The global Confucius Institute has done a brilliant job over the last 10 years to raise the profile of Chinese language and culture and UCLan has certainly played an important part in Lancashire.
“We were delighted to welcome these young people to the university to share in our celebrations and make the local community a part of this special anniversary for the global and UCLan Confucius Institute.”
Last year the UCLan Confucius Institute celebrated its own five-year anniversary with a Chinese opera concert.
Since it was established in 2008 the UCLan Confucius Institute has introduced Mandarin Chinese to primary school children across the North West and many secondary schools in the area have benefited from Chinese culture taster days. There have also opportunities for schoolchildren and university students to visit and study in China.