ARTS EX­CHANGES BOOST PART­NER­SHIP

Chengdu and Madrid co-host events to cel­e­brate friendly re­la­tions and cul­tural her­itage

China Daily European Weekly - - Chengdu Special - By ZHUAN TI zhuanti@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chengdu has been mak­ing a name for it­self in Western coun­tries in re­cent years, as the city has moved to strengthen its cul­tural ex­changes with the rest of the world.

Chengdu Week was held in Madrid in Jan­uary as a ma­jor ac­tiv­ity of the 2017 Happy Spring Fes­ti­val in Spain, of­fer­ing lo­cals a feast of typ­i­cal cul­tural el­e­ments from Chengdu.

The Happy Spring Fes­ti­val is an an­nual event held by the Chi­nese em­bassy in Spain to cel­e­brate the tra­di­tional Spring Fes­ti­val hol­i­day with over­seas Chi­nese, lo­cals and other vis­i­tors.

It was the first time that the Chi­nese em­bassy spe­cially in­tro­duced a city to the tra­di­tional Lu­nar New Year cel­e­bra­tion.

Dur­ing the fes­ti­val, clas­sic re­gional art forms such as pa­per cut­ting, shadow plays and face chang­ing opera per­for­mances were on dis­play at the fa­mous Plaza Mayor in Madrid.

“The per­for­mances are so amaz­ing that I want to buy a ticket to Chengdu right now,” said Manuela Car­mena, mayor of Madrid, dur­ing the event.

Vis­i­tors could also have a taste of Chengdu’s lo­cal snacks, such as long won­tons, zhong dumplings, dan­dan noo­dles and baked egg cake.

Mayor Car­mena said that the two cities share sim­i­lar­i­ties in many as­pects and she looks for­ward to deep­en­ing mu­tual ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion with Chengdu in more fields.

“Madrid is a city of tourism and arts, while Chengdu also boasts rich his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural her­itage. The two cities can have fur­ther ex­changes in tourism and cul­ture,” she said.

Guillermo Ospina, who trav­eled to Madrid from New York for a va­ca­tion, was at­tracted by the in­ter­est­ing per­for­mances at the Plaza.

“It’s so fas­ci­nat­ing,” said Ospina, hold­ing a Chi­nese pa­per­cut in one hand and a pile of tourist hand­books in the other. “I haven’t been to China be­fore. I want to go to China this year, and Chengdu must be my first stop,” he said.

Ospina said he also hoped that such ac­tiv­i­ties can be held in New York some day.

Jose Al­berto, a jour­nal­ist from Madrid, said he was pleased to re­port and ex­pe­ri­ence such won­der­ful ac­tiv­i­ties.

“The tra­di­tional Chengdu arts and the gi­ant pan­das made me fall in love with the city. I would like to help more peo­ple dis­cover the city and its charm,” he said.

Al­berto said he is also in­ter­ested in unique Sichuan cui­sine.

Lyu Fan, Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Spain, said the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Chengdu and Madrid holds great po­ten­tial in fields such as tourism, the breed­ing of gi­ant pan­das and au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Madrid’s zoo held a nam­ing cer­e­mony on Dec 12 for its lat­est baby panda, a day be­fore the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Chengdu Week fes­tiv­i­ties.

The 5-month-old fe­male panda was named Chulina. It is the first fe­male gi­ant panda to be born at the zoo. Its par­ents came from Chengdu Re­search Base of Gi­ant Panda Breed­ing in 2007.

Echo­ing Chengdu Week, the Madrid zoo held an art ex­hi­bi­tion on gi­ant pan­das dur­ing the Happy Spring Fes­ti­val. The ex­hi­bi­tion dis­played pic­tures and painted panda stat­ues.

Chengdu has be­come more closely tied to Spain since a di­rect flight con­nect­ing Madrid and Chengdu was launched on Dec 17. A one-way trip takes about 13 hours.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

MADRID RES­I­DENTS sign their names on a statue of a gi­ant panda, which is the sym­bol of Chengdu.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

ARTISTS FROM CHENGDU present var­i­ous folk per­for­mances in Madrid.

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