Every September, hundreds of Middle Georgians join together for Confucius Institute Day on Wesleyan College’s quad. This year’s event will be Saturday, September 28, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. There is no cost for attendance at this family- and pet-friendly event. The opening performance is scheduled at 2:00 pm and will include the CIWC Dance Troupe as well as a mixture of Chinese music and singing.
Visitors can learn their Chinese name and how to write it using calligraphy, play a game of Mahjong, or take part in many other fun activities such as bracelet making and Chinese sports. A national costume display and a photo booth with traditional Chinese costumes for children will be among the free family-friendly activities offered. Guests also can sample Chinese tea and mooncakes, a dense filling wrapped in pastry. Confucius Institute souvenirs and Chinese crafts will be available for purchase.
Currently there are 530 Confucius Institutes operating on six continents around the world. Wesleyan’s is located on the first floor of the Lucy Lester Willet Memorial Library and guests are invited to take a tour. CIWC’s gallery contains silk tapestries, ornate rosewood tables, porcelain objects, and two life-size, terracotta replicas of soldiers that date back 2,000 years. Throughout the year, the institute offers Chinese culture and language classes to the public.
Many of the artifacts were gifts from the Soong sisters. The three sisters attended Wesleyan College in the early 20th century before going on to become some of the most wealthy and powerful women in China. In 1904, the eldest daughter, Ai-ling, was the first Chinese woman to attend college in the United States.
“More people recognize that China is very important to learn about today,” said Director of the CIWC Dr. Nick Steneck, who also teaches history at the college. “The festival is another way to meet your neighbors who are Chinese and Chinese American.”