Chinese Lantern Festival celebrations held in Malta

Xinhua | February 23, 2024


A Chinese artist performs during a Chinese Lantern Festival concert in Valletta, Malta, on Feb. 21, 2024. A concert for the Chinese Lantern Festival was held at Malta's China Cultural Center on Wednesday night, featuring classic Chinese songs such as "Give Me a Rose," "Nocturnal Peace," and "Moonlight over the Spring River." (Xinhua/Chen Wenxian)

Celebrations for the Chinese Lantern Festival were held in Malta this week, immersing people in the traditional culture of China.

The lantern festival takes place on the 15th day of the first lunar month, marking the end of the New Year celebration. This year, it falls on Feb. 24.

A concert was held at Malta's China Cultural Center on Wednesday night, featuring classic Chinese songs such as "Give Me a Rose," "Nocturnal Peace," and "Moonlight over the Spring River."

The China Broadcasting Performing Arts Troupe's performance received a standing ovation, and the artists gave an encore of two more songs: "Jasmine Flower" from China and "Festa" from Malta.

Highlighting that the Lantern Festival is one of China's most important traditional festivals, counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Malta Peng Yijun said that the concert will "bring together friends from all walks of life in Malta to enjoy the unique artistic charm of traditional Chinese folk music."

China wants to "further strengthen cultural exchanges and mutual learning with Malta," he added.

Mary Ann Cauchi, director of Funding and Strategy for the Arts Council Malta, said that the Lantern Festival has become a popular attraction. It promotes the convergence of two different cultures, and two ancient civilizations, she said.

"China and Malta are good friends that have withstood the test of time," she noted. "The countries' cooperation and exchanges have deepened in fields such as infrastructure, aquaculture, maritime and commercial, especially through Malta's participation in the Belt and Road Initiative."

Evarist Bartolo, Malta's former foreign minister, said that since he was born in the Year of the Dragon in 1952, 2024 is a special year for him as it is another Year of the Dragon.

"For me, it has a personal meaning: the relationship between Malta and China should get stronger and stronger," Bartolo said.

Martin Azzopardi, a science teacher and the founder of China Corner at St. Margaret College Secondary School in Cospicua, said the concert allowed the Maltese people to appreciate the rich musical culture of China.

On Thursday, the troupe also staged a performance at San Andrea School in northern Malta for over 200 students and teachers.

Also on Thursday, an event was held at St. Clare Pembroke Secondary School, northeastern Malta, featuring singing and dancing, Chinese paper-cuts, tasting of dumplings, and trying on traditional Chinese clothing known as Hanfu.

School headteacher Lino Borg told Xinhua that the event, organized by the Confucius Institute at the University of Malta, provided the students with a valuable opportunity to gain insight into Chinese culture and traditions. He expected the scale of these events would be expanded next year, to attract more students to learn the Chinese language. 

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