Hundreds of Egyptians and Chinese gathered Friday, in Cairo’s largest park, to celebrate China’s upcoming spring festival, which marks the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar.

Amid the high trees of the al-Azhar park, hundreds of Chinese and Egyptians reacted to the beats of modern and traditional music, with children playing around on green grass of the vast park, marking the new beginning of the new Chinese lunar year.

The entrance and the alleyways of the park were decorated with red Chinese lanterns, and colourful Chinese paintings and placards, welcoming the visitors, both Egyptians and Chinese, adding a festive atmosphere to the celebration.

The event was organised by the Chinese embassy in Cairo, in cooperation with the Chinese Cultural Centre in Egypt.

The audience stood up in joy, when Chinese performers went on stage and started the shows of acrobats, kung fu, traditional and dragon dances, as well as, comedic shows for the children.

“Holding this celebration in Cairo is a good chance for cultural exchange,” Sarah Tareq, a college student of the Chinese language said, as she watched the show. “I have learned some Chinese traditions today, which is really great.”

Her 18-year-old friend, Nesma, believes that the Chinese culture is beautiful and rich, and to a large extent, is similar to the Egyptian culture.

“We have a spring festival and it is also ancient…it is the first time in my life I saw a Chinese celebration, but I really love it very much,” she said, as she painted a Chinese mask with shiny colours.

She said, everyone was happy at the party, as both Chinese and Egyptians shared an impressive good time.

A few metres from the stage, cooks were making Chinese food for the visitors, while on the other corner, a number of Chinese volunteers were helping little Chinese and Egyptian children fly colourful Chinese kites.

Cui Yingdi, a volunteer at the Chinese Culture Centre in Cairo, who was teaching Egyptian kids to paint Chinese traditional masks with their own designs, said, she only provides some examples for the children to follow, but they are welcomed to paint the masks with any colour or pattern they like.

“We even encourage them to draw Egyptian characters on the mask. The point is to let Egyptian kids know Chinese and Egyptian cultures can be blended,” she said.

Earlier this month, the 2016 Chinese-Egyptian Culture Year drew to an end successfully, as some 150 various kinds of cultural activities were held in both countries, which is seen as a breakthrough.

After upgrading relations between the two countries to a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” the culture year came to boost friendly ties and enhance mutual understanding and future development between the peoples of the two nations, whose relations have deep roots back in history.

One of the most prominent features of the culture year was the naming of China as the guest of honour of the 38th Cairo International Film Festival, in Nov.

Meanwhile, Wang Weidong, Director of Cultural Committee of Beijing Dongcheng District, who brought four artists and their works to Egypt, to showcase the traditional culture of Beijing, said, he chose the artists not only because they are masters in their fields, but also because they understand how to communicate and interact with the Egyptian people.

“You can see that the master of paper-cutting has been literally surrounded by Egyptians, who wish to learn the craft. This kind of interaction and communication has been our focus this year,” he said.

Wang added that the Egyptian people are really friendly and nice, but he could only stay in Cairo for two days.

“I do not speak Arabic and they do not speak Chinese, but culture brings us together,” he said with a smile.