RIGA, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- A celebration of the Chinese New Year, organized by the China Alumni Association of Latvia, was held at the University of Latvia on Sunday.
The event featured a number of speeches and a concert which took place in a packed hall. The audience included Chinese entrepreneurs, students, artists and families with children. Latvian guests included Peteris Pildegovics, director of the Confucius of Latvia, as well as other senior academic staffs from the university's language departments.
In Latvia, a small and ethnically very diverse nation, interest in the Chinese language and culture has been growing strongly in recent years. Mandarin is taught in the University of Latvia and Riga Stradins University (RSU) in Riga, two regional universities, as well as in many schools and in special courses, as well as the Latvian Chinese Studies Association.
The Chinese New Year's show reflected this deep interest as both professional and amateur artists of various ages performed on the scene of the university hall with great inspiration.
People both on the scene and in the audience were dressed in bright festive colors, with red dominating in the traditional Chinese costumes.
A group of school girls of Riga High School 34, wearing gilded red dresses, sang humorous Chinese songs with surprisingly accurate pronunciation and their classmate Alisa Lebedeva performed a superb solo number. The students have been taught Chinese for more than a decade already.
The program of the Chinese New Year's concert also featured a Chinese dance performed by University of Latvia student Marija Kantale, a rendition of Chinese and Latvian folk songs by an ensemble of young and beautiful Chinese girls, as well as theatrical and musical performances by students of the Riga Culture High School which has a department of Oriental cultures and languages.
The event also included masterclasses in Chinese calligraphy and origami. Artist Ekaterina Beljajeva gave a masterclass in Chinese traditional drawing and at the end of the concert showcased the works created by her talented pupils to the audience.
People were all smiles as they left the festive event, wishing each other health, wealth and happiness in the coming Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb. 5 this year.