Text/Photo: TCU’s Chinese Language Center
Translation: J.B. Willis, Steve J. Lin
Taiwanese observed Qingming Jie (Tombs Sweeping Day) on April 5, a day on which family members wrap and eat spring rolls together. TCU’s Chinese Language Center sponsored an activity of wrapping and eating spring rolls, which enabled students to experience our cultural legacy firsthand and understand the spring roll’s origin. Qingming is the 5th solar term of the traditional East Asian lunar calendar, which divides a year into 24 solar terms. Moreover, the Cold Food (or Hanshi) Festival is another traditional Chinese holiday, which is very close to April 5. The Cold Food Festival was developed from local commemoration of the death of the Jie Zitui in 7th century B.C. China. In the past, people avoided the lighting of any kind of fire, even for the preparation of food on this day. Thus they wrapped the cold food they’d prepared beforehand, which is the origin of spring roll.
Depending on where you live in Taiwan, people make their spring rolls in a variety of ways. The Center’s teachers used this opportunity to share numerous Chinese festivals and our cultural diversity, which explains why Taiwanese prepare spring rolls in such various ways. To help students enjoy delicious spring rolls, the teachers prepared various fillings, such as peanut powder, dried tofu, sliced carrot, parsley, an authentic southern Taiwanese filling made from flour, etcetera, for students to wrap inside their spring rolls.
This event started with the teachers’ demonstration of placing delicious and aromatic fillings inside the spring roll wrappers, and then wrapping them up. Students was amazed how delicious their spring rolls were and how easy it was to wrap their rolls.
To many students, wrapping and eating spring rolls was a brand new experience. Additionally, acquiring more about our cultural heritage also made them feel excited.
TCU’s Chinese Language Center offers regular classes in spring, summer and fall, short-term classes lasting for seven to eight weeks, and Chinese language teaching programs. Our classes attend to the needs of students, and those who want to learn Chinese in a fun way. Meanwhile, to learn more about Taiwanese culture, TCU is a good choice for them.