CAIRO, July 23, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Chinese girls watch an African artist painting a picture during the "China Day" of the 1st Afro-Chinese Arts and Folklore Festival, in Cairo, Egypt, July 22, 2016. Performances on "China Day", the second day of the 1st Afro-Chinese Arts and Folklore Festival, have attracted many Egyptian, Chinese and African audiences at Egypt's Opera House in downtown Cairo on Friday. (Xinhua/Meng Tao)
CAIRO, July 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese traditional arts have captivated the minds and hearts of many Egyptians and Arabs during the first Afro-Chinese Arts and Folklore Festival held in Cairo, as part of the 2016 Sino-Egyptian Culture Year.
The arts festival, which kicked off Thursday and will last till Tuesday, is aimed at shedding light on the culture and heritage of all participating countries from Africa and China.
The second day of the festival solely focused on Chinese arts and folklore and therefore was dubbed "China Day."
"It is the first time seeing a live Chinese art show and I really love it... The music and the instruments are very strange to me, but I sensed the music because it is a language that everyone understands," Fatima Hakim, a Moroccan lady in her 30s living in Cairo told Xinhua.
Held at the Opera House in Cairo, "China Day" featured colorful Chinese traditional performances, including bamboo flute playing, acrobatic Kung Fu and others shows.
To welcome the audience, two female artists played "The Butterfly Lovers," a modern piece of Chinese music adapted from an ancient Chinese legend. The performers used the traditional Chinese string instrument the Gu Zheng, also known as the Chinese zither, which is listed on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Another show that really attracted the audience was the Bian Lian, or Mask-Changing dance, an ancient Chinese dramatic art.
Zhang Chuanlei, a Bian Lian artist told Xinhua that the "Egyptian audience here is marvelous, and they really like our show very much. It makes me happy and proud."
Mohamed Negm, a 47-year-old professor, brought his wife and children to watch the show.
"I am so interested to know more about the Chinese traditional folklore. It's a good chance to get close to the Chinese folklore. The Chinese performances are similar to ours," Negm said.
An art sculpture brought from China was unveiled at the Opera House yard during the festival as a symbol of Chinese-Egyptian friendship and cultural communication between the two ancient civilizations.
The 2016 Sino-Egyptian Culture Year was celebrated to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations in a bid to intensify their already strong cultural ties.
Event organizers said holding such a festival emphasizes Egypt's role as a window to cultures, arts, heritage and history.
"We thought of a cultural gathering not only between Egypt and China, but between Africa and China, since Egypt is in Africa and China is a friend that cares for Africa," Sohair Abdel-Qader, founder and president of the festival told Xinhua.
"We held the first edition in Cairo and we expect to hold it in China next year and rotate it among participant countries," she said.