Confucius Institute in Sofia Participated in the First Dragot Boat Festival in Bulgaria

From June 24th to 25th, the first Dragon Boat Festival, organized by the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Dragon Boat Festival Association, kicked off on the shore of Lake Pancharevo near the capital Sofia. The event was mainly carried out in two locations: the Bulgarian National Rowing Base and the lawn area by the fishpond at Lake Pancharevo. The lawn area had a stage and many booths.

Many people attended the opening ceremony, including Dong Xiaojun, Chinese Ambassador in Bulgaria, Yan Jianqun, Minister Counselor at the Chinese Ambassy, Yang Tian, Head of Educational Affairs at the Embassy, Vlad Gitsoaika, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bulgarian Dragon Boat Festival Association, Andrey Chorbanov, Deputy Speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament, Nikolay Gyurov, Mayor of Pancharevo district, Valentin Revanski, Mayor of the city of Yambol, Dimitar Nedev, Deputy Mayor of the city of Ruse, Grigor Porozhanov, Director of the United Nations and Global Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and former Bulgarian Ambassador in China, Zornitsa Apostolova, Foreign Affairs Adviser to the President of Bulgaria, Zahary Zahariev, Chairman of the Bulgarian "Belt and Road" National Association, etc. Iliyana Yotova, Vice President of Bulgaria, and Zaritsa Dinkova, Minister of Tourism, sent congratulatory letters. Nikola Minchev, also Bulgarian Deputy Speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament, and Mrs Dinkova participated in the lawn area event in an unofficial capacity.

 At 10 a.m. on June 24, the Dragon Boat Festival officially started with the dragon dance performance of song and dance troupe of Tongliang District, Chongqing.

Ambassador Dong Xiaojun introduced the event in his opening speech, saying: "The Dragon Boat Festival is the first traditional Chinese festival to be included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. It is widely regarded as a cultural symbol, and an emotional bond between the ancient times and modernity, and between China and the world." At the same time, he said that the first Bulgarian Dragon Boat Festival has special significance, not only for the mutual exchange between the two cultures, but also for the spirit of teamwork and the profound friendship between China and Bulgaria.

In her congratulatory address, Mrs Yotova said: “This festival is a good preparation for the World Dragon Boat Racing Championship which will be held in Bulgaria in 2025. Mrs. Dinkova stated that “this festival is a symbol of the understanding and cooperation between Chinese and Bulgarian cultures and through this event we can establish more stable relations.”

At the “waking dragon” ceremony that followed, the VIP guests put dragon heads on four of the boats. A total of 26 boats were ready, and competed fiercely at the National Rowing Base. The semi-finals and the finals were held on the following day - 25 June accordingly.

At the other location - the lawn area by the fishpond, there were many multicultural activities, such as music, dance, creative workshops, martial arts demonstrations, food and drinks, art bazaar, etc., which attracted Bulgarian people to experience them.

During the two-day event, Confucius Institute in Sofia held many activities, including calligraphy, guzheng performance, coloring masks from the Beijing Opera, tea ceremony and tea tasting, ring toss games, trying on traditional Chinese costumes, etc. Many people stopped in front of the calligraphy workshop to take a look, some event queued to receive a calligraphy work with their name written in Chinese. The coloring activity was very popular among both small and older children, who were eager to color their very own Beijing opera mask. During the tea ceremony and tea tasting activities, many people came forward to inquire about the types of tea, and smelled and tasted them one after another. Trying on Chinese clothes was also very eye-catching. Children, parents, couples, etc. were all happy to experience it, and some even wanted to buy a qipao dress to take home.

In addition, Li Mengxia, a teacher from the Confucius Institute in Sofia, performed a traditional Chinese dance on stage on behalf of the Confucius Institute, and Li Rongchi, a Chinese student in Bulgaria, performed Chinese music with guzheng also on behalf of the Confucius Institute, both winning applause from the audience.

Along with wonderful performances and lively workshop activities, the champion of the dragon boat race on June 25 was also announced. The dragon boat team consisting of Romanian Chinese, Bulgarian Chinese, Chinese students in Bulgaria and Embassy personnel won the championship in one fell swoop. Thus the first Dragon Boat Festival came to an end.

 The Dragon Boat Festival has enhanced the people of Bulgaria's understanding of the festival, greatly promoted the cultural exchange between China and Bulgaria, and made great contribution to the development of sports and culture.


Confucius Institute in Sofia

Text: Chen Jie

Photos: Liu Xiuming

Editors: Liu Xiuming, Aksiniya Koleva, Liu Tianchao

English translation: Dima Pironkova


1Picture 1 Dragon dance performance by song and dance troupe of Tongliang District, Chongqing

2Picture 2 Dong Xiaojun, Ambassador of the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria, delivered a speech at the opening ceremony

3Picture 3 Dragon boat competition

4Picture 4 The activities at the workshop of Confucius Institute in Sofia

5Picture 5 Bulgarians showing their names written in Chinese calligraphy

6Picture 6 A guzheng performance

7Picture 7 Children coloring masks from the Beijing Opera

8Picture 8 A workshop for tea ceremony

9Picture 9 A couple wearing traditional Chinese attire

10Picture 10 Li Mengxia, a teacher at the Confucius Institute in Sofia, performed traditional Chinese dance

11Picture 11 A group photo of Yang Tian, head of Educational Affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria, Aksinia Koleva, Bulgarian director of Confucius Institute in Sofia, and Liu Xiuming, the Chinese director, celebrating the first prize in the dragon boat competition