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Chinese Spring Festival Comes to Iceland
2019-01-30

The coming spring bid farewell to the cold winter and strong snow. On January 25th and 26th, the Chinese Embassy in Iceland, the Beijing Municipal Government, the Icelandic Chinese Cultural Society, the Icelandic Chinese Trade Council and the Association of Chinese in Iceland co-hosted a series of activities celebrating the Chinese Spring Festival in Iceland for the very first time. The historical opera house and cinema Gamla Bíó staged two compelling Chinese performances on the evenings of Jan 25 and 26, and an open day activity on Chinese culture was successfully held in Harpa on the afternoon of Jan 26, altogether attracting nearly 2000 people to come.

President Guðni Johannesson and First Lady Eliza Reid of Iceland attended the performance on Jan 25 and send their new year greetings to the Chinese people. They spoke highly of the performance, talked over with the actors and took a group photo. Around 350 guests, including Mr. Haukur Guðmundsson, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Justice, several parliament members, diplomats to Iceland, overseas Chinese and students, and guests from all walks of life were invited to the gala. Ambassador Jin Zhijian delivered a speech before the show and send his greetings of the Year of the Pig to all guests at presence. In his remarks, Ambassador Jin elaborated the cultural background of Chinese spring festival. He started with an ancient Chinese saying, self-profit is the foundation of survival, while benefiting others can leave you in a favorable position to gain respect and help in the long run, and pointed out that pursuing wealth and seeking common development for a better life were the common aspirations of people all over the world. This ancient wisdom of China was well reflected in the Belt and Road Initiatives which have become the most popular public product and the largest platform for cooperation in the world, and would serve as an unlimited driving force for the further development of relations between China and Iceland. Ambassador Jin also introduced the great achievements of 40 years of reform and opening up in China, the latest development in China-Iceland bilateral relations and Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

On the evenings of the 25th and 26th, artists from Beijing presented a cultural feast to the guests at the historical theater styled in Chinese spring festival atmosphere. The fascinating water sleeve show of Peking Opera, the tai chi exercise, the thrilling acrobatics, the eye-catching magic show, the beautiful songs and dances, and the melodious folk music received loud cheers and applauds from the fascinated audience.

On the afternoon of the 26th, more than 1,000 Icelandic guests attended the large-scale open day activity on Chinese culture at Harpa, and interacted with inheritors of the world intangible cultural heritages such as Chinese calligraphy, engraving, Peking opera, and sugar painting, and learnt from the teachers of the Confucius Institute. Ambassador Jin addressed the audience with his best regards of seasonal greetings. The craft masters displayed the magical skills from the East with their dexterous hands, and they were astounded by the guests. Each workshop was lined up with long queues. In the clay mask painting and calligraphy workshops, the audience picked up the brushes to paint and write, with curiosity of the meaning of each facial mask and Chinese character. In the sugar painting workshop, the vivid sugar animals became the favorite of the children. In the noodle making workshop, the audience marveled at the skills of the Chinese chef and learnt to cook Chinese food with joy. The audience also enjoyed the show of traditional Chinese folk music, gongfu performance, dances and the songs presented by the Icelandic children, and had a taste of Chinese cuisine. Thousands of guests spend a wonderful afternoon with joy and laughter in the warm and cheerful atmosphere of Chinese spring festival.

Ambassador Jin introduced the custom of spring festival, the message of the Year of the Pig as well as the warm feedback on the spring festival activities in Iceland during his interviews with Morgunblaðið, CCTV, BTV and Beijing Daily. Iceland National TV (RUV), together with the above mentioned media, reported on the activities. Audience has expressed their appreciation to the Chinese Embassy in Iceland and all the host organizations for introducing Chinese Spring Festival to Iceland, which brightened Reykjavik in its long winter nights with warm greetings from China.

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