A colorful bus full of music and joy set off from the foot of the Acropolis hill on Friday and after several stops in landmarks of Athens reached Piraeus port, spreading the message of friendship and cooperation between Greece and China.
Members of the Sino-Hellenic Performing Arts Alliance (SHPAA), dressed in traditional Chinese costumes sang, danced and interacted with passersbys, exchanging wishes for a Happy New Year.
The alliance which was founded in March 2021 by Chinese nationals living in Greece aims to build bridges of communication between the two countries and people through culture, Haotian Zhu, one of the founders, told maritimes.gr
Twenty Chinese, one Greek and one Italian are currently comprising the alliance’s drama performance group and band Katharsis. Through music and the performance of ancient drama they aim to introduce Chinese to ancient Greek wisdom and Greek audiences to China classics.
To date they have performed three times ancient Greek drama in Chinese language with English subtitles and plan to stage Chinese classic plays in the future.
The initiative was launched as the China- Greece Year of Culture and Tourism 2021-2022 is underway with various events promoting cultural exchanges and cooperation between the two sides.
All Chinese members of the alliance are amateurs who are guided by the Greek and Italian professional artists in their bid to remind people the teachings of the two ancient civilizations.
During the COVID-19 pandemic which was tough for all, as people were stuck at home for long due to lockdowns, the group of Chinese nationals decided to open a door with interactivity to bring again sun light into everyday life. They sought guidance and inspiration in ancient drama.
One of the songs they performed on Friday was the official song of the forthcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
“I want to send our best wishes to the success of Beijing Winter Olympic Games. And also, we hope to send our wishes for Happy New Year,” Haotian Zhu said, wishing in Greek and Chinese.
An entrepreneur focusing on real estate development and hotel management lives in Greece with his wife and daughter since 2018 and is confident about the prospects of the economy and his business. He believes that once the pandemic is over, Greece may welcome one million Chinese visitors per year in 2025.
Melania Petrillo is an Italian professional singer who lives in Greece since August. She lived in Shanghai in 2018- 2020 and joined the alliance as she also strongly believes in the power of culture to connect people. She felt connected, as Chinese, Greek and Italians share long history, rich culture and love and respect for artistic expression and their past, she told Maritimes.gr
She took part in Friday’s event to spread joy in the start of a New Year. “These kinds of events are very important to also show that we think about and we miss our families. We think about them always. And so, it's a way to be attached to them, to be close to them, to show our love to them,” she said and wished Happy New Year also in Greek and Chinese.