ACAPULCO, Mexico, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The International Nao Festival of Acapulco kicked off here about 380 km south of Mexico city over the weekend with a performance of Peking Opera inaugurating the weeklong event.
It is the 10th edition of the cultural festival in the Pacific coast resort, whose ties to China go back around 450 years to the famous China Galleon, or La Nao de China, which had for centuries sailed between the port city and the Far East.
As the guest country of the festival, China's culture is being showcased throughout the week.
Peking opera performance from China's southwest province of Guizhou, for example, will stage its production of "Don Quixote," the classic by great Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes.
"We have tradition here, we have culture here," Acapulco Mayor Evodio Velazquez said during the opening ceremony on Saturday night, adding that "there are many ties connecting us to Asian countries and Asian traditions."
The ceremony was held at Acapulco's historical San Diego Fort, which was decked with red Chinese lanterns and multicolored parasols. The fort dates back to the 17th century.
"To speak of the China Galleon is to speak of one of Acapulco's historical eras," the mayor said.
Minister counsellor at China's embassy in Mexico Lin Ji said the festival offers an opportunity for residents of Acapulco, one of Mexico's five most popular tourist destinations, to learn more about China and the maritime trade route that connected the two countries during a span of centuries.
Diego Prieto, the director of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), said the event serves to highlight Acapulco's rich cultural heritage, thanks to its role as a meeting point between Asia, Europe, through the Spanish conquistadors, and the Americas.
"This globalization, which at one time was accompanied by conquest and violence, has to develop into a globalization that leads us to fraternity, cultural enrichment and understanding between peoples," said Prieto.
As part of the festival, an exhibit titled "Memories of the Oracle Bone Inscriptions" is showing at the San Diego Fort's museum origins of today's complex Chinese characters system.
Museum curator Victor Hugo Jasso said the exhibit, which will run through Jan. 31, shows ancient Mesoamerican and Chinese civilizations had certain elements in common, despite being separated by time and distance.
Accompanying the exhibit will be "interactive workshops between children from Acapulco and China, so they can communicate through these hieroglyphs and this type of symbolic communication," Jasso told Xinhua.