Celebrating Chinese Lantern Festival in Australia's museum

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Visitors paint Chinese opera masks at a special celebratory event held at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 4, 2023. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

As the Chinese Lantern Festival is approaching, a special celebratory event is held in Australia's National Maritime Museum over the weekend, providing a unique opportunity for local residents to experience China's fascinating culture and tradition.

The two-day event, jointly hosted by the museum and the China Cultural Center in Sydney, features several workshops including Chinese calligraphy and painting, Chinese opera mask painting, folding fan painting, as well as traditional Chinese musical instrument performances.

A visitor paints a Chinese opera mask at a special celebratory event held at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 4, 2023. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

Visitors could also wear Hanfu, the traditional Chinese clothing, watch the tea art show, and create their own paper lanterns, shadow puppets and dragon boat models.

The event is also a part of the museum's Lunar Sea program to celebrate the traditional Chinese New Year.

"For us, to be able to share a genuine, authentic experience with Australians on what it means to the Chinese and the Chinese Australian, to get an authentic experience of the music and the dance, and to have people understand the rich complexity of different cultures is a really important part of what we want to do," the museum's director and CEO Daryl Karp told Xinhua.

"The festival also allows us to attract more people who normally don't come to a museum. We'd love to have far more Chinese and international visitors."

A staff member presents a rabbit mascot at a special celebratory event held at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 4, 2023. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

Wearing a dress drawing inspiration from the design of Qipao, the traditional Chinese clothing in Qing Dynasty, Sydney resident Fabiola Sepulveda has a keen interest in Chinese culture.

She used to study in China for about one year and has some basic knowledge about those traditional festivals, but some of the cultural programs are still new to her.

"I was searching about what was going on for the Year of the Rabbit and I found the event here. I really want to enjoy this activity, and try those that I haven't tried before," Sepulveda said.

"I like a lot of things from the Chinese culture, like the dance, the music, the traditional instrument and the Chinese food, and especially the respect and connection they have with other people."

For the local Australian Chinese, the event also presents a good opportunity to find more about their cultural background.

"We were born in Australia so we weren't really exposed to a lot of the things about the Chinese culture when we were younger. I think right now is a good opportunity for us to learn more about our culture," said Angela who came to the event with her mum.

As a student studying art and architecture in the university, she thought the most fascinating ones would be the things related to the arts, like Hanfu, embroidery and ink painting.

"I'm trying to get a grasp of the Chinese culture, exposing myself more to this ... Hopefully, it may give me inspiration to start doing more things related to the Chinese culture and being influenced by the Chinese culture more, whether that be in my artworks or my design," she said.

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