A few days before the Chinese New Year and the ushering in of the Year of the Rabbit, the Athens Conservatory welcomed fifteen young musicians from Greece and China for a “Concert of Young Chinese and Greek Musicians for the Spring Festival.”
The event took place on Saturday night in Athens, and both traditional as well as contemporary compositions were heard. Over six hundred people attended, contributing to Greek and Chinese cultural exchanges and learning.
The concert was part of events taking place globally and organized by the Chinese Culture and Tourism Ministry to celebrate the Chinese New Year, and by the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry to welcome the Spring Festival.
Several organizations from Beijing and Athens attended, including the Athens State Orchestra and the Association of Greece-China Investors. Chinese government officials were also present.
Chinese Ambassador Xiao Junzheng expressed the hope that the concert would inspire more opportunities for exchanges and channels of communication between musicians of both countries. The Athens State Orchestra’s leading pianist, Titos Gouvelis, said it was a great honor to work with musicians playing the Chinese dulcimer, as music is an international language linking people and cultures.
The Chinese New Year on January 22nd is celebrated by more than twenty percent of the world. It’s the most important holiday in China and for Chinese people worldwide.
Chinese New Year: The year of the Rabbit
The Rabbit is the fourth of all zodiac animals. Legend has it the Rabbit was proud—arrogant even—of its speed. He was neighbors with Ox and always made fun of how slow Ox was.
One day, the Jade Emperor said the zodiac order would be decided by the order in which the animals arrived at his party. Rabbit set off at daybreak, but, when he got there, no other animals were in sight.
Thinking that he would obviously be first, he went off to the side and napped. However, when he woke up, three other animals had already arrived. One of them was the Ox he had always looked down upon.
In Chinese culture, rabbits represent the moon. Some say it is because the shadows of the moon resemble a rabbit. Others say it is because of the rabbit’s pure characteristics.