The Confucius Institute in Sofia Hosted The 2024 Spring Festival Celebration for The Chinese and Bulgarian Teachers and Students
On 13th January, 2024 at 2 p.m. local time, the Confucius Institute in Sofia hosted the 2024 Spring Festival gathering for their Chinese and Bulgarian teachers and students to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year together. The guests of honour at the venue were Mrs Wang Min - the Chargé d'affaires of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Bulgaria, Mrs Le Qing from the Cultural and Educational Section of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Bulgaria, Mrs Ma Qi - an interpreter at the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Bulgaria. Other notable guests were Prof. Madeleine Danova – one of the vice-Rectors of the Sofia University, Mrs Snezhana Todorova - the president of the Association of the Bulgarian Journalists, Prof. Nako Stefanov - a researcher at the Centre for Oriental Languages and Cultures at the Sofia University and a Director Emeritus of the Confucius Institute in Sofia, Mrs Irina Beleva - a Consulate General of the Republic of Bulgaria in Shanghai, China for the time period 2011-2015 and head of the Bulgarian-Chinese Business Development Association in Beijing, Mr Krastyo Belev - the Head of the Representative Office of the Association for the Development of Business in Beijing, Mr Hong Hai - the Director of the Bulgarian Centre for Chinese Culture, Mr Wang Pujian - the President of the Bulgarian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Mrs Hong Haiju - a deputy director of the Women's Association of the Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce, Мr Lin Hao – a representative of the Xinhua News Agency, Mr. Chen Jian - a representative of the European Times magazine, along with the representatives of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sofia. More than 300 people from all walks of life, including leaders, teachers and students from the Confucius Classrooms and the teaching centers of the Confucius Institute in Sofia, have gathered together to celebrate the festive season. The motto of the event was: "The Year of the Dragon – Let’s Welcome the New Year!"
Ms Wang Min, the Chargé d'affaires at the embassy of the PRC in Bulgaria, congratulated everyone in the audience on the upcoming Chinese New Year and wished them all the best. Furthermore, she expressed her active support for the Confucius Institute in Sofia and highly praised its achievements over the past year: "The ICS have made bold attempts to improve the management of the Institute, to enhance the quality of the teaching, to carry out teacher training workshops, to expand the cultural exchange between our two countries, to serve the local people and to boost the cooperation between the PRC and the Republic of Bulgaria. All these activities have led to fruitful results and have made positive contributions." Mrs Wang hoped that "The Confucius Institute in Sofia could continue to make persistent efforts and move forward by compiling a brand-new chapter in the history of the bilateral cultural exchange between our two nations, along with mutual learning and common development."
Mrs Aksiniya Koleva, the Bulgarian Director of the Confucius Institute in Sofia, and Prof. Liu Xiuming, the Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute in Sofia, both expressed their gratitude to the Chinese embassy representatives and guests for their kindness and strong support; to the teaching centers directors for their constant support and collaboration; to the administrative staff for their understanding and dedication, as well as to the participants and their parents for their regular contribution and cooperation. They stated that "The Confucius Institute in Sofia welcomes the splendid and beautiful 2024 with high enthusiasm and big expectations for fruitful results."
The programme of the festival was magnificent and diverse, with teachers and students from China and Bulgaria performing songs and dances from each other's countries and in each other's languages, mirroring the purpose of the Confucius Institute in Sofia - both nations of China and Bulgaria to be able to gather knowledge from each other. The opening dance Red Shoes performed by the dance band from the 138th Secondary school in Sofia, was oozing passion. The songs that followed, namely Three Melodies for The Plum Blossoms perfomed by a student from the Maxim Gorky High School in Stara Zagora, and the White Dragon Horse performed by primary students from the Aiga Chinese School in Sofia, along with another song - "Together for a Shared Future". Later, the song A Branch of Blooming Plum Blossoms followed, performed by a student from the “Tsar Simeon Veliki”- Vidin High School. Four Chinese teachers played together the traditional tune Blue and White Porcelain on four iconic Chinese musical instruments. Their performance was followed by Symbiosis - a gorgeous crossover melody reflecting Bulgarian and Chinese folklore played on Bulgarian bagpipe. Later on, the audience enjoyed the beautiful sounds and the rhythms of the tune Yao Dance of another Chinese and Bulgarian traditional music band. The dance Looking for Him in the Western Chamber performed by Mrs Chen Chan, a teacher at the Confucius Institute in Sofia, was graceful and elegant. The students from the 138th Secondary School in Sofia presented an outstanding mix of a catwalk show featuring Chinese national costumes and a dance named Magnificent China. The students’ performance was strikingly uncommon in a very unique way - by blending elements of fashion and dance shows to perfection. The Bulgarian song Together We Stand had a powerful and captivating effect on the audience. Finally, the performance was rounded off by the song Three Hundred and Sixty-five Blessings which was sung together by the whole staff of the Confucius Institute in Sofia. Each one of the performances in the festival programme were met with warm applause by the audience. That fully demonstrated the charm and the beauty of the Chinese and the Bulgarian art and the aspects of overlapping between them.
The event was masterfully interspersed with interactive games with the audience. The active participation of the audience not only increased the fun atmosphere of the festival, but also deepened the emotion between the people in the audience. The Confucius Institute in Sofia handed over surprise gifts to everyone in the audience - a red envelope containing a handmade Chinese knot made by the Chinese teachers, a year of the Dragon card with blessings for the new year, and Chinese candies representing sweet happiness.
This festive event is of a wide-ranging significance and has its clear purpose. The Chargé d'affaires at the embassy of the PRC in Bulgaria, Mrs Wang Min concluded: "This event is not only both a checkup and a feedback for the results of the Chinese language teaching and cultural promotion of the Confucius Institute in Sofia, but also reciprocation of experiences and beautiful moments which will forward Chinese language teaching in Bulgaria and will facilitate the smooth process of educational exchange and cooperation between China and Bulgaria and their further development." The CIS directors Mrs Aksiniya Koleva and Prof. Liu Xiuming pointed out that the event "aims to provide a platform for the students to show their achievements in Chinese language learning and for the advancement of the cultural exchange. At the same time, the event adds bricks and mortar to the exchanges and the co-operation between schools and business enterprises, and contributes to the mutual learning and the appreciation of the Chinese and the Bulgarian education and culture." The event will deepen the mutual exchange and the friendship between the two nations in the sphere of education and culture and will promote the profound significance of the cooperation between the two countries.
Confucius Institute in Sofia
Text: Chen Jie
Photos: Jun Huang, Xiaorong Zhang, Bilyana Issaeva
Editors: Aksiniya Koleva and Liu Xiuming
English translation: Maya Kostadinova
Picture 1: The Spring Festival Celebration venue
Figure 2: Speech by Ms. Wang Min, the Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Bulgaria
Figure 3: Mrs Aksiniya Koleva, the Bulgarian director of ICS and Prof Liu Xiuming, the Chinese director of the ICS, delivering their welcome speech.
Figure 4. The Red Shoes dance
Figure 5. The Three Melodies About the Plum Blossom song
Figure 6. The White Dragon Horse song
Figure 7. The Together for a Shared Future song
Figure 8. The Symbiosis bagpipe performance
Figure 9. The Yao Dance liuqin and gadulka crossover performance
Figure 10. The Searching for Him in the Western Chamber dance
Figure 11. The Blue and White Porcelain Chinese traditional music performance
Figure 12. The Magnificent China - Chinese national costumes catwalk show and dance
Figure 13. The Together We Stand Bulgarian song
Figure 14. The Hibiscus dance
Figure 15. Chinese traditional folk dance
Figure 16. The A Branch of a Blossoming Plum Tree song
Figure 17. The Bravery dance
Figure 18. The Three Hundred and Sixty-five Blessings song
Figure 19. The interactive games with the audience
Figure 20. A group photo of the guests and the CIS staff
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