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Monday, 10 December 2018

In Photos: Chinese Cultural Centre in Cairo celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival

China's Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important annual events, characterized by rich folkloric celebrations with a 3000 year long history.

Samia Fakhry, Saturday 29 Sep 2018
dance
"Come together brothers and sisters" dance (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)
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The Mid-Autumn Festival has history going back to the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BCE) and is characterized by a cheerful flair and cultural abundance. The festivities are held sometime between September and early October, at the sight of the full moon in accordance with a lunar calendar.

This year, on the 24 September, Cairo’s Chinese Cultural Centre invited a troupe from Yunnan, a province in the southwest of China.

“The ethnic groups are famous for their ability to sing and dance and they express their feelings by dance,” Wanng Chow Wi, the group manager and choreographer of the troupe told Ahram Online.

Bai people
Dance of the Bai people and octagonal drums (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)


Wanng Chow Wi added that the troupe travels across the world, celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the annual events that incorporates a range of artistic activities, especially dance.

Bai people
Dance of the Bai people and octagonal drums (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)


Other prominent celebrations in Chinese culture include the Spring Festival as part the Chinese New Year. China is also famed for colourful celebrations that mark its National Day on October 1.

Dai people
Golden Peacock of the Dai minority (Photo: Sheif Sonbol)


The Yunnan province encompasses 25 ethnic minority groups, many of whom live around the mountains, valleys and river side. The region’s vibrant culture was highlighted by the event's rich programme schedule.

Dai people
Golden Peacock of the Dai minority (Photo: Sheif Sonbol)


There was a performance of a traditional dance of the Bai people (also called Minjia), an ethnic group from the Yunnan who are particularly known for using an octagonal drum known as the "bajiao gu".

Young Guys
Young Guys dance (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)


Another dance in the programme was called "Golden Peacock," from the Dai people; minority that live by the river side. For the Dai, the peacock symbolizes happiness and they artistically express their joy.

Young Guys
Young Guys dance (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)


Another performance was the "Young Guys" dance which showcases young men having fun and chasing the flower of happiness, a symbol of the mid-autumn festival.

miao
Dance of the Miao People: A touch of red (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)


A dance of the Miao, a minority ethnic community who live atop the mountains, performed adorned in necklaces, bracelets and crowns made of silver and wearing a unique traditional dress which has been part of their tradition for centuries.

miao
Dance of the Miao People: A touch of red (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)


The evening also included a dance by the Yi people, an ethnic group who also live in the mountains of Yunnan, though not atop like to Miao. Two Yi dancers performed a dance known as "Seek", and a musical number known as the "Delightful Huayao" in which the dancers used music instruments and hand-clapping as way to express their happiness.

Seek
Duo titled Seek (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)


In the final performance of the evening, the "Cheerful Song of Paper Horse" was performed with handmade paper animals displaying young love between men and women.  

Paper Horse
Paper Horse (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)


The programme guided the audience through numerous traditional dances from Yunnan, drawing in people with the diversity of performances, costumes and accessories.

Yi
Dance of the Yi people: Delightful Huayao People (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)


To highlight the connections between Chinese performers and the Egyptian audience, the evening closed with the famous Dalida’s song, Helwa Ya Baladi.

Yi
Dance of the Yi people: Delightful Huayao People (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)

dance
"Come together brothers and sisters" dance (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)

dance
"Come together brothers and sisters" dance (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)

singers
The musicians -- the singers (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)

moon cake
Moon cake stuffed with beans, served during the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)


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