Petőfi 200: A Chinese-Hungarian poem recitation competition

Last Thursday, the Confucius Institute of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Debrecen celebrated Chinese Language Day by arranging a poem recitation competition titled Petőfi 200 and the opening of an exhibition called The Power of Poetry: Lu Xun and Petőfi.

It was in 2010 that the United Nations Organization passed a resolution designating April 20 as Chinese Language Day, thus paying homage to a mythical figure by the name Cangjie, who is believed to have been the creator of Chinese orthographic characters some 5000 years ago.

On this occasion, the Confucius Institute of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Debrecen (UD) held its Chinese-Hungarian poetry exchange for the first time – joining the Petőfi memorial anniversary this year – in the Méliusz Juhász Péter Library, where as many as twenty poems by Sándor Petőfi were performed in two languages with the participation of students from the University of Debrecen and from Debrecen Vocational Training Center.

The members of the audience had a chance to listen to a selection of Sándor Petőfi's poems including Fa leszek [I'll Be a Tree], Füstbement terv [Plans Gone up in Smoke], Szeptember végén [At the end of September] and Befordultam a konyhára [Into the kitchen I did turn] both in Hungarian and in Chinese translation, while the last one of these was also performed as a song.

The event also featured the opening of a literary exhibition entitled The Power of Poetry: Lu Xun and Petőfi, which was compiled by China Cultural Center (in Budapest) on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the celebrated Hungarian poet.

In his opening speech, István Puskás, Deputy Mayor of Debrecen for Cultural Affairs, emphasized the importance of strengthening relations between Hungary and China, which manifests itself in the fields of education, economy and culture.

As an organic part of the event, the Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China handed over a sizable book donation offered jointly to the library of the University of Debrecen and to Méliusz Juhász Péter Library.

“Learning Hungarian has also become a new trend in China. In recent years, the number of universities offering Hungarian language programs has increased from 1 to 11, and more and more Chinese students are interested in the Hungarian language and Hungarian culture. Language is a bridge for cooperation, thanks to which we can get to know each other's cultures, increase mutual understanding and sow seeds of friendship in our hearts,” said Yang Chao, Acting Chargé d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy, in his speech.

The book donation was officially received by Tünde Szabó, Deputy Director of Méliusz Juhász Péter Library and Pál Csontos, Hungarian director of the Confucius Institute of the University of Debrecen.

Press Center – BZs