Professor Robin Harvey and Lixing Frank Tang (right) of New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, announce the first-ever New York Chinese Character Festival on October 6 (ERIC WONG)
New York University (NYU) announced in lower Manhattan on October 6 that the first-ever Chinese Character Festival (CCF) will be in conjunction with ChineseCUBES, a tech startup looking to teach Chinese through its new and innovative augmented reality software. The Character Festival will be open until November 3, with the opening and closing ceremonies to be held at the NYU Kimmel Center.
The month-long celebration of Chinese characters, or hanzi, features five online contests that give local residents a chance to rediscover their city and community. The festival has come together through collaboration between local and international artists, organizations, vendors and residents.
"New York City is rich in history and places relating to the Chinese culture and language," said Rex How, CEO of ChineseCUBES. He told the press that the citywide celebration will take participants on a journey that will let them experience and explore the beauty of Chinese characters as well as their importance to New York through a fun mix of interactive online content and check-in spots with rewards in and around the city.
The opening day of the New York Chinese Character Festival featured many booths from schools, together with hands-on Chinese character activities, cultural performances and games (ERIC WONG)
According to the official website of the CCF, the four online contests include a Cultural Map Check-in, Best Chinese Character Tattoo Photo, Best Chinese Calligraphy and Best Chinese Character T-shirt Design.
The idea behind the New York Chinese Character Festival came through collaboration between Lixing Frank Tang and Robin Harvey, professors at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, and Rex How. Rex How, founder of ChineseCUBES, organized the eighth Annual Chinese Character Festival in Taipei in 2012. Due to the popularity of the festivals across Asia, and rising interest in learning Chinese in the United States, Rex How, with the help of Tang and Harvey, brought the festival stateside to give New Yorkers an opportunity to experience and explore Chinese characters in their own communities.
"Chinese language learning is not just a path to an international career, it's also a wonderful celebration of a culture where the language itself is a work of art," said Harvey.
According to How, the festival was first created to raise public awareness and reinvigorate interest in the ancient writing system, with the hope of reminding people of the history, heritage, and cultural relevance of Chinese characters. Over the years, it has evolved to become an annual celebration of Chinese language, art and culture
"It's wonderful to see our students embrace the language they are learning as more than just an academic pursuit, and for them to see its longstanding relevance to the city around them and be able to share that with others." Tang said at the opening ceremony.
(Reporting from New York City)