By Yang Yi
Splendid cultural activities are held in many countries to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, which came on Jan. 22, including traditional Chinese dragon and lion dance, music performances of both Western and Eastern masterpieces, the “face changing” technique of Sichuan Opera, and dragon boat races.
These activities, which presented a feast of the Chinese culture, have demonstrated the value of traditional Chinese culture in the world and established a bond of cultural exchanges and communication across the world.
On Jan. 16, just a few days before the Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, big red lanterns were seen hanging outside of the China Cultural Center in Berlin, capital of Germany, which was freshly decorated for the festival.
A ceremony of a concert and a photo exhibition themed with the Chinese New Year was held at the center, which marked the start of a series of celebration activities. Fourteen songs popular in both the East and the West were jointly performed by Chinese and German musicians.
On Jan. 22, Chinese New Year celebrations were held on the Yaowarat Road, or the Chinatown, in the Thai capital of Bangkok. The Chinatown was bustling with a Chinese New Year fair as well as music and dance performance with Chinese characteristics. Festive vibes were felt everywhere on the road.
Together, residents and tourists from across the world watched dragon and lion dance, posed for pictures in front of lanterns and bunny-themed decorations, and joined colorful activities to experience the traditional Chinese culture, such as Peking Opera face painting and traditional Chinese medicine preparations.
Dragon and lion dances attracted a lot of attention in Paris, France on Jan. 20. Six men danced happily in a “dragon” and four in a “lion” with the lively sound of gongs and drums, and a cute “rabbit” interacted with the crowd. People took photos with the dancers and applauded, making the street a sea of joy.
During the Spring Festival, dragon and lion dances, parades and Chinese food festivals will be staged in several districts in Paris.
An electric bus decorated with Chinese New Year elements recently became a big attraction on the streets of Budapest, capital of Hungary. Besides, a cultural event was held at the Allee Mall in downtown Budapest to celebrate the Chinese festival. Presenting a series of activities that showcased Chinese culture and art as well as folk customs, the event was warmly welcomed by residents.
On Jan. 17, a surprising ice sculpture of a rabbit was revealed to Chinese tourists at the popular scenic spot and winter sports resort, Jungfrau in Switzerland. The sculpture was located on the glacier beside the Jungfraujoch railway station, the highest railway station in Europe.
The cableway at the Swiss resort also decorated its departure station with rabbit decorations and red lanterns to celebrate the Chinese New Year. According to an employee of the resort, the scenic spot has prepared many other surprises with Chinese elements to welcome tourists from China.
On Jan. 15, a Chinese New Year dragon boat race kicked off in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, which attracted crowds of spectators to cheer and take photos. The sound of the splashing water, drums and applause ignited the competition.
The dragon boat race was joined by nearly 200 athletes from 21 teams in Argentina. Before it started, Mario Moccia, president of the Argentine Olympic Committee, dotted the eyes of dragon boats to bestow good luck, a tradition of the Chinese paddled watercraft activity.
The Chinese Embassy in the U.S. hosted a reception for the 2023 Chinese New Year of the Rabbit on Jan. 17. About 800 guests attended the event to celebrate the festival and enjoy Chinese food. Kin Wah Moy, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, said in his remarks that though China and the U.S. have differences, those differences make the two countries unique and beautiful. They can mean positive outcomes, and there can be hope, Moy said.
What people are looking for this year is hope that the U.S. side will work hard to make sure that the U.S.-China relationship is in the right place, he noted.