Italians appreciate Festival as way to enhance knowledge of Chinese culture
Last Updated: 2015-02-16 09:33 | Xinhua
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Several events and celebrations have been planned in these days in Italy to mark the upcoming Chinese Year of the Goat.

Through time, festivities for the Chinese New Year have become something Italians expect to take place in major cities at this time of the year, and increasingly seem to appreciate it as a good chance of both having fun and cultural enrichment.

A large audience of both Chinese and Italians gathered in the central Piazza del Popolo in Rome on Saturday to enjoy an afternoon-long show offered by artists coming from two Chinese provinces.

The event constituted the major celebration for the Chinese New Year in the Italian capital, and was anticipated by a traditional Chinese street parade.

"I am pleasantly surprised by the show, actually. The artists are skilled, the traditional folk dances and music are interesting and well conceived," Claudia Tenaglia from Rome told Xinhua.

The woman came to the event with her husband and 6-year-old daughter.

"We mainly came to let our daughter enjoy the celebrations, but also for our own curiosity," she said.

"My husband went to China for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but I know nothing of Chinese culture and I was interested".

Overall, she appreciated the initiative because she considered such cultural events a good change for Italians to "integrate" what knowledge they have of China, whether wide or small.

Among the various performances staged by the artists, the family particularly relished the pieces of acrobatics art.

The overall scene was quite lively, as the Spring Festival this year coincided with St Valentine Day and the ongoing Carnival festivities in Italy. Most of the children among the crowd were dressed up in Carnival marks, and this added a further touch of colour to the red decorations hanging on the large stage to symbolize prosperity, and the elegant costumes of Chinese artists.

Flavia Scuderi said she enjoyed the performances, even though traditional folk music was sometimes difficult for her to follow.

"Yet, this is also a good experience, because it allows you to get a glimpse of what people of another culture like," Scuderi said.

Most of all, she appreciated the opportunity for cultural exchange.

"What I like most here is to see all this people around in the square. You see, they are people of all nationalities, not just Chinese and Italians, and gathered to enjoy this cultural event," she explained.

The same consciousness of the key role that culture can play in bringing people closer could be found among Chinese artists rehearsing or relaxing behind the big stage.

"Our exhibition can be a way to improve what Italians or other foreigners have of China," said 21-year-old Deng Xin Peng, while waiting to perform the hats' juggling with his mates.

The young acrobat explained the long and hard practice he has gone through since childhood to master his art at such a high level. As for his future, he asks nothing but keep doing the same thing.

"Every means of communication between different people has its usefulness and reason, whether it is politics, educational projects, or cuisine... But I would like to continue in my profession, because I do feel culture can build a bridge between China and the world," Deng said.

Some Italian spectators queued before the stalls set up along a side of the square to get brochures, books and other information materials offered by the Chinese Embassy in Italy, Confucius Institute and the Chinese Tourism Office.

Despite large Chinese communities have since long settled across Italy, many Italians admitted they still know little about China, its current culture, and its very ancient history.

That was not the case with Azzurra Cupini, however.

"I come every year to the Chinese New Year celebrations, it is a tradition by now," the young woman told Xinhua.

"I have been fascinated by the Chinese culture since childhood. I do not know how to explain this in few words, it is like something that comes from the heart," she added.

Cupini considered the Spring Festival a good opportunity for both Italians and Chinese.

"I think it helps the further integration of Chinese communities in Italy, and helps Italians who already have contacts of any sort with Chinese people here to relate better to them".

Despite the good luck and prosperity the upcoming "Year of the Goat" promises to bring, according to the Chinese Zodiac, the girl was eager to see the year after next.

"The 2016 will be the Year of the Monkey, the Chinese animal symbol to which I belong, and it is a great animal, usually compared to very smart and intelligent people," she said proudly.

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