by Xinhua writer Shi Song, Wang Qibing
ZURICH, Switzerland, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Michael Hitz, a Swiss national, attended a Spring Festival event in Zurich, Switzerland, where he enjoyed Chinese delicacies. "Authentic Chinese food is indispensable for Lunar New Year events like today," he said.
On the first day of the Lunar New Year, people from different communities gather in a Year of Dragon celebration event organized by the Chinese Traditional Culture Association of Zurich.
Joining the festivity with his Chinese neighbor, Hitz, with the Chinese name "Xiao Mi," which means millet, noted that Chinese food is an integral part of traditional Chinese culture.
"I visited China when I was 20," he told Xinhua. "I traveled to Yunnan and Guizhou, tasted Chinese food, and loved it. But I started learning to cook Chinese dishes as a hobby four years ago. I can make Sliced Garlic Pork (Suan Ni Bai Rou), Hot Spicy Boiled Beef (Shui Zhu Niu Rou), and even dumplings."
Hitz and other participants enjoyed a cultural feast of traditional Chinese art, including children's chorus, guzheng (a Chinese plucked string instrument), dance and martial arts, before indulging in over 20 varieties of Chinese delicacies.
Hitz said that while he enjoys many cuisines worldwide, his love for Chinese gastronomy is special.
Lu Jinlian, president of the Chinese Traditional Culture Association of Zurich, told Xinhua that approximately 230 guests participated in this year's hybrid Spring Festival event.
"I know that over a decade ago, there were not as many rich Spring Festival activities. However, the Chinese community has grown over time, and cultural events have become more abundant and influential, attracting enthusiastic participants," said Swiss mechanical engineer Marcel Rieder.
"I think this is also a very precious process of cultural integration," noted Rieder, who has deep connections with China in both professional and family life. His wife Ning Wenshan participated in the dance performance.
Zhang Ying, who performed Chinese martial arts with her daughter, has lived in Switzerland for over a decade. She once coached the Swiss national martial arts team and now runs a martial arts school in Zurich.
"In my classroom, there are numerous students who come to study, including children with Chinese heritage, as well as many other local children," she told Xinhua. "I believe that Chinese martial arts provide a great opportunity for people to understand and appreciate traditional Chinese culture."
"At today's event in Switzerland, there are not only people from China but also me, a person from Russia," said Andrey Bulimov, a guest at the event. "This is a cross-cultural exchange, creating space for cultural fusion and common interest in each other's cultures."
As a Russian national with over a decade of experience working in Switzerland and some brief experience in China, Bulimov said that Switzerland is "a very open country, willing to learn more about different cultures."
"I am also pleased to see more attention given to traditional Chinese culture," Bulimov said. ■