Feature: Chinese Culture Day bridges hearts of children from different cultures
Updated: 2012-08-03 09:51
The Chinese community in Denmark celebrated its cultural roots at the first ever Chinese Culture Day here Thursday with artistic performances by 100 children from across China.
The young performers showcased their skills in traditional Chinese calligraphy, kite making, dances and songs, among others, at the event which attracted over 500 visitors and was held at Frederiksberg Town Hall in western Copenhagen.
"We are happy to meet you and privileged to get a small taste of Chinese culture," said Morten Jung, chairman of the Culture Committee of Frederiksberg Council, which is an autonomous administration within Copenhagen city.
"China, for us Danes, is a huge country undergoing big changes ... and cultural exchanges with China therefore offer a great possibility to open doors between us," he said in a speech launching the festivities.
Organized by the Beijing Huaming Weiye International Cultural Exchange Center (BHWICEC) in collaboration with the Chinese Association in Denmark (CAD), the event was supported by the Chinese Embassy in Denmark.
"I believe Chinese Culture Day in Denmark will be an opportunity for Danes to learn more about China's art and culture, and thereby promote cultural exchanges between our countries," said Li Ruiyu, Chinese Ambassador to Denmark, speaking to the audience which comprised local Chinese and Danish residents.
Li said that Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to Denmark in mid-June, the first ever by a Chinese head of state to this Nordic country, had already helped bring Sino-Danish relations up to a new level.
China and Denmark enjoy warm diplomatic ties stretching back 62 years, and Li added that the Chinese Embassy in Denmark would continue to work to further develop these relations.
"My children are half-Chinese, half-Pakistani, and it is an important part of their Chinese identity to see here what they cannot usually experience," said local Chinese resident Amy Wasi, who attended the event with her two sons aged five and seven years.
"Today, my children can see what other Chinese children are doing in their lives, and that is just wonderful," she said to Xinhua.
The art of paper cutting proved an special hit with local children. The craft, known as "jianzhi," has been present in China since 6 A.D, and involves making cut-out figures from colored paper.
Especially popular in Northern China, the craft is best known for its Zodiac signs, cut out from red paper, which are usually linked to the Chinese New Year celebrations.
"I hope that our younger generations, my children and grand children, can learn more about Chinese culture, and preserve their Chinese roots," said Dr. Ma Wenxin, President of the Traditional Chinese Medical Association in Denmark, who has lived here over the past 33 years.
"They must never forget that they are Chinese, although they have Danish passports and speak Danish. They must understand Chinese language and culture, and their mothers' and fathers' land," he told Xinhua.
CAD Chairman Lin Yanbiao said inviting the 100 children, who are from Chinese provinces which each have their special cultural traditions, to Denmark, was a sure way of "promoting cultural exchange, and they have indeed shown their culture to ethnic Danish children, as well as to Danes with Chinese background, for the mutual benefit of all."
He said to Xinhua that around 15,000 people of Chinese ethnicity live in Denmark, and they believe it is valuable to experience and preserve China's ancient culture and traditions, and to teach these to their children.
"To (those Chinese) who live abroad, it is very interesting to see children, who live in China, come and do such activities here," Lin said.
While local Chinese children were introduced for the first time to facets of their own culture, the visiting performers were also on a quest of discovery, as the trip marked their first visit to Denmark and the Nordic region.
Cao Hua, Chairman of BHWICEC, stressed the two-way benefit the culture day had on Sino-Danish relations, saying, "We are both old countries with our own unique traditions ... who have contributed to world culture."
"We hope our children can experience each others' cultures, and thereby deepen their mutual understanding of our two cultures," she said in a speech at the event.