Car­ni­val combo

China, Por­tu­gal use co­in­cid­ing fes­ti­vals to strengthen ties

Global Times - - Front Page -

Crowds of men and women, old and young, lined the streets in down­town Lis­bon on Satur­day, on a sunny early-spring day, in a pa­rade for the up­com­ing Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year.

Pa­raders as­sem­bled out­side the An­jos Church be­fore march­ing down Almi­rante Reis Av­enue, one of Lis­bon’s main ar­ter­ies. The pro­ces­sion then wound its way along Palma Street, now adorned with red lanterns, and into Mar­tim Moniz Square, where a mar­ket and stage had been erected.

The Spring Fes­ti­val gala, the fifth time it was be­ing held in the same square, has be­come a plat­form for cul­tural ex­change be­tween China and Por­tu­gal.

“The dragons!” ex­claimed 4-year-old Ana, when asked about her fa­vorite part of the pa­rade. She was busy film­ing the pro­ces­sion with her grand­mother’s cam­era.

“I bring Ana ev­ery year,” said Maria Jose, Ana’s grand­mother. “It’s such a happy day, es­pe­cially when the sun shines like to­day.”

The dancers dressed in pink, from the Zhengzhou Song and Dance Com­pany, also caught the eye of Sara, also 4 years old, who had just started learn­ing bal­let.

“I work in the area, so I know the Chi­nese shops and of­ten go for lunch in Chi­nese restau­rants. I wanted to come and see the pa­rade to find out a bit more about the cul­ture, and it’s been quite ex­tra­or­di­nary,” her fa­ther Ti­ago Rocha said.

Fes­ti­val at­mos­phere

In a happy co­in­ci­dence, Por­tu­gal’s an­nual car­ni­val falls in the same pe­riod as China’s Spring Fes­ti­val this year. Many Por­tuguese lo­cals have made the most of the over­lap by sport­ing Chi­nese masks and head­wear.

Sara Fereira and Hen­rique Va were both wear­ing tra­di­tional Chi­nese dress with their baby daugh­ter Car­lona in a panda out­fit. “My fa­ther is Chi­nese, but I was born in Por­tu­gal,” Va said, “so to­day’s per­fect for me, I can com­bine the Chi­nese New Year with (the) car­ni­val.”

Eze­quiel Warner was an Amer­i­can stu­dent on his hol­i­day in Lis­bon from Barcelona for the week­end. “When I came out of my ho­tel this

morn­ing I thought, ‘Wow, this looks pretty cool!’” Warner said. “This is a new ex­pe­ri­ence for me. I’m lov­ing the danc­ing, the drum­ming, (and) the ac­ro­bat­ics.”

Two Por­tuguese groups also par­tic­i­pated in the event. The Evora Singing Group pre­sented folk songs from the Alen­tejo, a re­gion to Lis­bon’s south. Cante Alen­te­jano, also known as the Alen­tejo song, is a song from a tra­di­tional Por­tuguese mu­sic genre, which is rec­og­nized as a UN­ESCO In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage of Hu­man­ity.

“We pre­serve the cul­tural tra­di­tions of our re­gion and peo­ple, prin­ci­pally through (the) Alen­tejo song, so it’s an honor to par­tic­i­pate in an event in which China does the same,” said Fran­cisco Silva, pres­i­dent of the Evora Singing Group.

Bring on the pa­rade

China’s Am­bas­sador to Por­tu­gal, Cai Run, gave a speech be­fore the per­for­mances.

“The pa­rade has been go­ing since 2014 and it has been a very pos­i­tive ex­change of cul­tures, deep­en­ing the ties be­tween the two coun­tries and bring­ing our two peo­ples closer,” Cai said.

On top of the cap­ti­vat­ing per­for­mance of dragons, drum­mers, dancers, and the Shaolin Tem­ple monks’ mar­tial arts dis­plays, an­other in­ter­est­ing fea­ture is the mar­ket. It fea­tured hand­i­crafts, food stalls, cal­lig­ra­phy work­shops, Yanghe wine tast­ing and acupunc­ture.

Rui Can­dido was help­ing his young son To­mas learn to write Chi­nese char­ac­ters. Can­dido is from Santarem, out­side Lis­bon, and knows Chi­nese cul­ture well. “I visit China reg­u­larly (while) sell­ing wines for the Quinta de Ribeir­inha es­tate,” he said. “I en­joy in­ter­act­ing with Chi­nese cul­ture and I came along to­day be­cause I wanted my kids to get to know the cul­ture too.”

The Spring Fes­ti­val cel­e­bra­tion in Lis­bon, which fea­tures two days of stage per­for­mances is or­ga­nized by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Luso-Chi­nese Busi­ness and In­dus­try, in con­junc­tion with the Chi­nese Em­bassy in Por­tu­gal and Lis­bon Town Hall.

Photo: IC

Peo­ple take part in the Pa­rade of the Chi­nese com­mu­nity liv­ing in Lis­bon, as part of the Chi­nese New Year cel­e­bra­tions, in Lis­bon, Por­tu­gal, on Satur­day.

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