ARTS EXCHANGES BOOST PARTNERSHIP
Chengdu and Madrid co-host events to celebrate friendly relations and cultural heritage
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.
MADRID RESIDENTS sign their names on a statue of a giant panda, which is the symbol of Chengdu.
ARTISTS FROM CHENGDU present various folk performances in Madrid.