Feature: Chinese, Australian students make Zongzi for festival celebration, culture sharing

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-07 11:48:33|Editor: Liu
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by Hao Yalin

MELBOURNE, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Making and eating Zongzi, sticky rice dumpling wrapped up with bamboo or reed leaves, is a tradition to celebrate Dragon Boat Festival in China, which fell on Friday this year, while for some students in Melbourne, it is a special experience of having a "taste" of Chinese culture and traditions.

On Thursday evening, some 30 students from Melbourne-based high schools and universities were invited by the Education Office of the Chinese Consulate-General here to jointly celebrate the festival. Among them were overseas Chinese students and Australian students who are enthusiastic in learning Chinese.

The students enjoyed different flavors of Zongzi and learnt from a chef how to make this special snack.

Deakin University student Chad Ryan gave thumbs up to the taste of the students' works.

"I tried Zongzi before. I know it is an important tradition for the Dragon Boat Festival," Ryan said.

Speaking fluent Mandarin, Ryan was the runner-up of the Melbourne division of the 18th Chinese Bridge -- Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students. He has been learning Chinese for about nine years and is also a registered traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.

"The Chinese language is very complicated, but I am very interested in it. I hope I could learn more," Ryan said.

As champion of the Chinese Proficiency Competition, Australian college student Oliver Woodman was also fascinated by China's language, history and culture.

"The Chinese language and culture are totally different from the language and culture in Australia, and that's the most attractive part to me," Woodman told Xinhua in Mandarin.

Having been studying Chinese for about eight years, he is now majored in Chinese and IT in the Monash University. The Zongzi party has also prompted him to look into the culture and history behind the event.

"I was not quite clear about the origin and history of the festival, so I did some research. Now I know the festival was to commemorate the famous poet Qu Yuan who committed suicide in a river. People make Zongzi to feed the fishes to prevent them harming Qu's body," he said.

"There are many traditional Chinese festivals and each of them is of different features and histories. That's really fresh to me. The more I experience, the more I can learn and understand," Woodman added.

One in the 12th grade and one in the 11th, two young Chinese high school students Wu Xinyi and Jin Yuhan found in the Zongzi party a feeling of home and happiness of sharing.

"This is the first time for me to try to wrap a Zongzi. When I was in China, my parents always buy Zongzi from supermarkets for us to eat together. Though I am now studying in Australia alone, celebrating the festival in such a traditional way made me feel still at home," Wu said.

The two girls wanted to bring their handmade Zongzi back to school and share with their Australian friends.

"Last year my home-stay bought some Zongzi for me and I shared with my classmates. They really like it!" Wu said.

Woodman decided to share his Zongzi as well, but via WeChat, a Chinese social app more and more widely used in Australia.

After making a perfect-shaped Zongzi, he put it on the table and took a photo with his mobile phone. "I wrapped the Zongzi and had a really happy day," he wrote in the post.