The year 2013 marks the 15th anniversary since the city of Rome was twinned with the city of Beijing. I have to say, the twinning of many if not most global cities almost always completely confuses me – for instance, what is the logic between the pairing of Santiago, Chile with Paris France, and Vienna, Austria with Tabriz, Iran? However, at least to my semi-cultured eye there for once is a definite connection between Rome and Beijing – these two cities have it sealed in their fate to be cultural and historic global centers of two very distinct cultures. The histories of both cities stem back thousands of years and their influence on world culture has proven to be immeasurable.
It is clear, then, that following last year’s extremely successful celebration where over 50,000 spectators came out to participate, this year’s celebration of the advent of the Year of the Water Snake in Rome will be extra-momentous. The People’s Republic of China has sent over three dance troupes comprising in total 110 dancers to participate in the year’s festivities. The dancers come from the Beijing Theater of Opera and Dance, the National Acrobatic Team and the Beijing Wanxing Dance and Singing Group. And if the 2008 Olympics are anything to go by, Chinese performance artists take their craft incredibly seriously. The show basically has no chance of not being spectacular. The China National Acrobatic Troupe alone encompasses within its act plate spinning, group diabolos, contortionists, and bicycle skills among other acts. The troupe is a key performer in Chinese cultural exchange activities and has won over 42 awards globally – and yet they are only one of the three great acts! Imagining all of that magnificence but with a backdrop of night time Rome, and the question that pops to mind is whether cultural fusions could possibly get any better than this?
The celebration of the New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, will take place on Saturday February 2nd beginning at 19:00. Festivities will commence with a parade greeting the arrival of the snake and beginning at Largo Corrado Ricci at the Forum end of Via Cavour. At 19:30 an evening showcasing Chinese culture will begin on a stage at the side of the Victor Emmanuel monument. Two large screens with be in place to optimize the viewing pleasure of those unable to be close to the stage. The evening will conclude with a magnificent firework display from the Celio Hill above the Colosseum.