RIYADH: As the number of fascinating international cultural events taking place in Saudi Arabia continues to grow, one of the most notable so far was the Chinese Spring Festival — Foshan Dragon and Lion Dance and Martial Arts.
The live show was held at King Fahad Cultural Center in Riyadh on May 9, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and the General Culture Authority (GCA). The Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia Li Huaxin and other Chinese diplomats attended the family-friendly event, along with Ahmed Al-Mazyad, CEO of the GCA.
Foshan is an ancient Chinese city famous for its rich culture and history. It is considered the birthplace of the South Lion dance, and the southern style of martial arts. Bruce Lee and Huang Feihong, two of the famous martial arts champions, were either born there or taught martial arts there. The city is also considered the home of Cantonese opera.
The show was divided into three chapters, one of which was a tribute to Bruce Lee’s martial arts prowess. The famous Foshan Lion Dance was also featured, accompanied by gongs, drums and cymbals.
Al-Mazyad said that the Chinese Spring Festival and similar events “will open the communities’ perception, to learn more about other cultures and accepting others.”
He added: “In the recent past we watched these events on television but today we get to see it in reality, and that is a great opportunity for the Saudi culture and community. Today we are representing our culture in other countries too.”
Ambassador Li said the show will also be staged in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia, in Dammam.
“This event is important to exchange the Chinese and Saudi culture and we thank the General Culture Authority and the Ministry of Culture for their support to have this opportunity,” he added. “There is a strong cultural exchange between Saudi Arabia and China, and Saudis will also travel to China and present folk and cultural dances. They actually have done it before and will do it again this year.
“These cultural events are very important to create cultural knowledge, traditions and a friendly relationship between the two countries. Both have a rich culture, traditions and history, and by introducing that it will create a strong relationship to serve the common interests of the two countries.”
Audience member Jack Chen, a telecoms manager from China, said: “Presenting Chinese culture in Saudi Arabia is a good thing. Saudi Arabia is opening up to other cultures more and more — this event is a good start for creating relations between the countries.”
In support of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the GCA has launched plans for more than 5,000 cultural and leisure events, which began in April 2018, that are expected to make a significant contribution to the economy.