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Europe awash in red for Lunar New Year festivities

China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-01-31 08:53

Teenagers learn Chinese painting at a celebration of Chinese New Year in Riga, Latvia, on Saturday. [JANIS/XINHUA]

FRANKFURT-The spacious lobby of Rosengarten, a conference center in downtown Mannheim, Germany, was decked out in Chinese red.

Crowds gathered in front of exhibit booths where folk artists from China's northwestern Shaanxi province showcased their skills of paper-cutting, woodblock printing and calligraphy.

Nine-year-old Anja was holding her calligraphy work that reads "Shu Nian Da Ji" ("Happy Year of the Rat").

"I've tried the tea ceremony, Go, and calligraphy. I will show this piece to my classmates and teachers at school," she said.

At a gala later that evening, Shaanxi artists entertained a local audience. It is a part of the Happy Chinese New Year cultural events taking place across the world but it was the first time the event was held in Germany's Frankfurt consular district.

This year's Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, began on Jan 25. While residents from and around Mannheim had the chance to enjoy the culture and history of Shaanxi, people in Berlin welcomed an art troupe from Southwest China's Guizhou province. A gala featuring singing, dancing, and music offered the Berliners a glimpse of the musical traditions of ethnic minority groups living in Guizhou.

On Jan 15, for the ninth consecutive year, Berlin's historic Red Town Hall rolled out the red carpet and lit Chinese red lanterns for its Happy Chinese New Year gala.

Sawsan Chebli, state secretary for the Berlin city government, said that hosting Chinese New Year celebrations has become an important cultural tradition in Berlin. It also signifies the all-around cooperation between Berlin and China, and particularly between Berlin and its sister city, Beijing.

Addressing the opening ceremony of this year's gala in Berlin, Chinese Ambassador to Germany Wu Ken also stressed that cultural and tourism exchanges between the two countries play an increasingly crucial role in bringing people from two sides closer, and sound people-to-people ties lay the very foundation for bilateral relations.

In the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, officials have made it a custom to record video messages addressed to the Chinese people living in the region ahead of the Spring Festival.

Andreas Pinkwart, the state's economic minister, said in this year's video that the Year of the Rat represents qualities of reliability and persistence, and the ability to turn the unfavorable situation into a favorable one.

"These are characteristics that we particularly need in today's times when the world trade system is facing growing challenges," he said.

Belgrade fairytale

Meanwhile, for people in Belgrade, Serbia, celebrating Chinese New Year with lights and fireworks in the city center is popular as well. On Jan 24, the countdown to Chinese New Year was staged at the Kalemegdan Park and Belgrade Fortress, where citizens gathered to enjoy the second Chinese Festival of Lights.

A fairytale world of colorful flowers, flamingos, chariot horsemen, Chinese dragons, lanterns and other light sculptures has been built in Belgrade and the city of Novi Sad. The event will last until mid-February.

Tasovac, a Belgrade resident, said he learned about the light exhibition from local media and enjoyed it very much.

"It was eye-opening," he said, "It was a great opportunity to allow us to feel the festivity of the Spring Festival here in Belgrade. I've always had an interest in Chinese culture."


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