BERN, Switzerland, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Bern, the capital of Switzerland, was "overwhelmed" by Chinese elements such as martial arts, traditional Chinese clothing Hanfu, calligraphy, tea art, traditional Chinese musical instruments guzheng and pipa, and Chinese food, as hundreds of people gathered here Saturday afternoon for the cultural event "Meet China."
Held at the Federal Square in the old city of Bern, the Chinese Culture Festival is the first of its kind jointly organized by the Chinese Embassy in Switzerland, Chinese students, and overseas Chinese in Switzerland since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sino-Swiss cultural exchanges are an important part of the friendly relations between the two countries, said Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland Wang Shihting.
Wang said he believes that this cultural event can deepen the Swiss people's connection and love for Chinese culture, and promote cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Accompanied by the sound of gongs and drums, the event kicked off with a lion dance performance. Students from the School for Chinese martial arts in Bern performed Tai Chi, Tai Chi Sword, and others. The power and elegance in their moves attracted many people to stop and watch.
Wu Yongmei, director of the School for Chinese martial arts in Bern, said that more than 20 students participated in the performance and most of them had practiced martial arts for several years.
Wu said that she was "very proud" to be able to promote Chinese martial arts here in a bid to attract local people to understand Chinese martial arts and culture. "Martial arts is not just fighting, but a manifestation of spirit."
As part of the event, Swiss Alphorn artist Walti Sigrist blew a 14-meter-long Alpine horn, one of the oldest musical instruments in Switzerland, and played a number of pieces including "Edelweiss."
Sigrist's broker, Claude Hubscher, said that the combination of alphorn performance and the Chinese cultural elements is the "best way" to showcase Chinese culture to the Swiss people and enhance exchanges between the two countries.
Chen Xue, one of the organizers of the festival, said that this event could help promote Chinese culture overseas. "We hope that by participating in such activities, our next generation can better inherit Chinese culture."
Dozens of booths were set up at the square for traditional Chinese medicine consultation, facial makeup painting, Spring Festival couplet writing, Chinese food, tea art, and paper-cutting.
Kevin Riedmann from Schaffhausen, Switzerland, said that he "liked very much" this Chinese cultural festival, the first of its kind for him.
Lena Demel from Lucerne, Switzerland, painted a Peking Opera mask. She said that she made a special trip to Bern to better understand Chinese culture and was "overwhelmed" by the wide variety of Chinese elements on site. ■