Festival provides chance to explore Chinese and East Asian culture

Contact: Korey J. Force

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The fourth annual China Festival at Western Michigan University will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, in WMU's Student Recreation Center.

Photo of female dancers dressed in colorful traditional Chinese clothing performing at a prior year's Chinda Festival.

The annual festival commemorates the tradition of the Chinese Moon Festival, which is celebrated in China in mid-autumn. WMU's event was established to promote Chinese studies programs on campus and to broaden the community's understanding about Chinese culture.

"China Festival is a place for community members to explore Chinese and East Asian Culture," says Dr. Ying Zeng, director of Asian initiatives for WMU's Haenicke Institute for Global Education and festival coordinator. "There is a trend that more and more people—non-Chinese—are interested in Chinese language and culture."

Festival activities and organizers

Photo of an attendee at a prior year's China Festival learning how to write in a Chinese language.

Admission to the festival as well as parking are free, and for a nominal fee, attendees may sample traditional foods prepared by local restaurants.

Attendees also may participate in free classes and hands-on cultural activities, enjoy cultural performances, and peruse informational display booths. More specifically, activities will include:

  • Art exhibitions
  • Chinese martial arts performances
  • Chinese dance performances and a related mini class
  • A Chinese yo-yo performance and a related mini class
  • A Taiko drum performance and a related mini class
  • A Badminton tournament final and clinic

The festival is being organized by the Haenicke Institute in collaboration with the Chinese Association of Greater Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Chinese Academy and Whirlpool Asian Community.

Campus co-sponsors include the Confucius Institute at WMU, Timothy Light Center for Chinese Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, Haworth College of Business, Department of World Languages and Literatures, and Association of Chinese Students and Scholars.

Interest in Chinese language and culture

Although many Chinese families call Kalamazoo home, interest in Chinese culture also comes from the larger community. This community interest has increased the availability of Chinese language and culture classes in the local area.

The Kalamazoo Chinese Academy, for instance, is a nonprofit educational organization that offers classes on Friday nights to area students of all ages. Meanwhile, the Confucius Institute at WMU offers language and culture classes on campus to all members of the community and sends volunteer instructors to teach Mandarin classes in high schools throughout the Kalamazoo Public Schools district.

For more information, visit wmich.edu/international/cf. Questions may be directed to the Haenicke Institute at wmu-international@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5890.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.