Traditional Chinese culture lectures heat up in rural communities

(Xinhua) 08:33, November 27, 2023

JINAN, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- On weekends, children in Ruanjia Village always come to the lecture hall early instead of the playgrounds.

In the village of Qufu City, the birthplace of the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius in east China's Shandong Province, traditional Chinese culture courses are provided for free every weekend at the Confucian lecture hall, attracting more than 30 students.

"I've been studying in the Confucian lecture hall for over three years. I love what I've learned here -- paper cutting, traditional Chinese painting, making dough figurines, and everything," said Hu Wenzhe, a 10-year-old student.

A teacher guides students to make moon-shaped fans at a school in Qufu City, east China's Shandong Province, Oct. 6, 2023. (Photo by Yang Guoqing/Xinhua)

Ten years ago, the first Confucian lecture hall was established in Beidongye Village, Sishui County near Nishan Mountain, where Confucius is believed to have been born.

A group of scholars specializing in Confucianism from home and abroad gathered in the village and discussed how to revitalize traditional Chinese culture in modern society, especially in rural areas.

Since then, lecturers and volunteers delivered lectures on Confucian classics and told stories concerning the philosophy of harmony, integrity, and filial piety in Confucian lecture halls, combining the traditional Chinese culture and modern social norms.

Students learn to make traditional Chinese salute at a Confucian lecture hall in Qufu City, east China's Shandong Province, June 12, 2023. (Photo by Cao Junbo/Xinhua)

So far, Shandong Province has established more than 22,000 Confucian lecture halls in rural communities over the past decade, and holds over 120,000 cultural activities every year.

In recent years, Shandong has brought the Confucian lecture hall into the rural public cultural service system and established unified standards for facilities, course contents, lecturer qualifications, and activities to build it into a platform for cultural communication.

Having been carried out for a decade, Confucian lecture halls are gaining popularity by providing more interactive and immersive experiences that now appeal to youngsters. In addition to courses on Confucian classics, children can now participate in traditional cultural activities such as paper cutting, painting, calligraphy, and traditional instruments, among others.

The Confucian lecture hall in rural communities is starting to function as a cultural center where traditional Chinese culture is taking root, bringing more people access to diverse cultural experiences.

An inheritor of a traditional craft of weaving "Huaxi" teaches students to make weaving artworks at a school in Qufu City, east China's Shandong Province, Oct. 6, 2023. (Photo by Yang Guoqing/Xinhua)

When approaching the Confucian lecture hall in Qingye Village, Shandong's capital city Jinan, people will first hear the lingering melody of Wuyin Opera, a traditional local folk opera with a history of nearly 300 years.

As the cradle of the opera, Qingye Village now tries to promote the ancient form of art at the Confucian lecture hall.

"I did not miss any of the lectures with performances of Wuyin Opera. I like it so much," said Zhang Guilan, a 77-year-old villager.

A volunteer performs to promote traditional Chinese culture in Sishui County of Jining, east China's Shandong Province, April 19, 2014. (Photo by Ji Ranran/Xinhua)

Ma Benli, Party chief of the village, said that Wuyin Opera was once on the verge of extinction. "Now, with the regular Confucian lectures, more people can enjoy this intangible cultural heritage," Ma said.

"We hope that through the construction and promotion of the Confucian lecture halls, people of all ages could have the chance to enjoy traditional Chinese culture," said Ji Ranran, an official at the center of traditional culture inheritance and development in Sishui County.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Xian Jiangnan)


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