Modern Marco Poloes from France, Canada, South Korea and other countries gathered together at the Sinology Class of the West Lake State Guesthouse to experience the traditional customs of the Dragon Boat Festival, a traditional Chinese festival, while appreciating the beautiful landscape of the West Lake on the afternoon of 14th June.
Activities included boating on the West Lake, eating zongzi, and weaving Chinese mugwort. “Modern Marco Poloes” were invited to experience the cultural connotation of the West Lake and learn the folk customs of the Dragon Boat Festival.
The boat started off from the West Lake State Guesthouse and sailed from the internal lake to the external lake through the arches of the bridges. The guests learned the past and the present of the West Lake, a world cultural heritage, thanks to the detailed introduction of the guide on the boat. What’s more, the guests were offered with zongzi. How cozy it was to eat delicious zongzi in the embrace of soft breeze!
Roze Merie Cuevas from Canada is the founder and chief designer of fashion brand JAC. Having lived in Hangzhou for seven years, Roze loves how Hangzhou combines classicality with reality.
Roze used to appreciate the lake from the bank, but the lake trip provided a different view. “The West Lake is so beautiful! I can see many architectures full of ancient charm on the glistening waves. That’s typically the classical charm of China!”
Olivier Ruelle from France has been to several Chinese cities, among which Hangzhou is his favorite. Now Olivier has not only established a firm of consultants in Hangzhou but settled his home here. His wife YE Feng is a Chinese. The couple respect and love each other. They even have a lovely puppy. Now living with his parents-in-law, Olivier has fallen in love with tea culture and Chinese chess.
“This is a precious chance for us to spend the Dragon Boat Festival along the most classic lake-viewing route. It makes me miss my own family. Hope they have a pleasant festival and wish everyone in good health!” said Olivier.
It is well known that Chinese mugwort and sweet flags are an essential part of the Dragon Boat Festival. People use Chinese mugwort, sweet flags, pomegranate blossoms, garlic and Chinese ixora to make figurines, tigers, wreaths and accessories to drive miasma away.
After an hour of lake trip, the guests joined the Sinology Class of the West Lake State Guesthouse to learn Chinese ixora weaving, getting further understanding of Dragon Boat Festival customs.
Professional craftsman was invited to teach weaving skills. All guests learned attentively and started weaving soon. Grasshopper, dragonfly… different figurines were made in less than an hour. Everyone was happy with figurines in hands.
“We ‘modern Marco Poloes’ tell the stories of Hangzhou to the world through our own experience. This is a completely different experience. In South Korea we have the same festival, but the one in China is much richer in connotation,” said Hanna from South Korea.
The event came to an end in laughter and cheer. Feeling not enough, everyone couldn’t wait to join future events of the series of “Modern Marco Poloes Travel around Hangzhou”. They said they would be more willing to know better about and fit in Hangzhou. Meanwhile they would be better cultural ambassadors to play a positive part in cultural communication and cooperation.