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Celebrating Polish festivals with Chinese students by Tomasz Ewertowski
2015-12-29 14:56  

I have been working in China for more than 2 years and maybe the most pleasant moments of my stay have been organizing special festival classes for my students. I am working at Zhaoqing University in Guangdong province, most of my students are from Guangdong, most of them have never been abroad. Therefore, their knowledge about Western culture is mostly based on watching American movies. I am teaching Polish language and culture, which gives them an opportunity to discover that Western culture is more diverse than they might expect.

One of the best way to share cultural heritage is to celebrate festivals with students. It does not mean only teaching them new vocabulary and showing photos of holiday customs. The most important is to perform festival activities together. Students can not only learn a textbook content, they can also taste traditional food, listen to festival songs. To put it in the nutshell, they can experience foreign culture themselves without paying huge amount of money for a plane ticket.

Two years ago, during my first year in China, my family visited me during Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Polish people traditionally have a family reunion. That day two year ago, I took my parents and brothers to a class I had with my students. In the Polish tradition, before the Christmas Eve supper, family members take a white Christmas wafer, break it and share pieces of it. While sharing the wafer, people exchange wishes. This is an old custom, for many generations of Poles it was the most important moment in the whole year. That year my family brought with them this traditional Christmas wafer and we shared with all students, students also shared it with themselves. We were also listening to traditional Christmas carols.

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