by Xinhua writer Chen Jin
SIBIU, June 23 (Xinhua) -- The open-air ASTRA Village Museum on the outskirts of Sibiu in central Romania was illuminated late Sunday by 20 sets of large-scale colorful lanterns from Zigong, a southwest Chinese city famous for its lantern culture.
With the opening of the country's first-ever Chinese lantern festival, these lanterns with such themes as "Chinese Dragon," "Panda Garden," "Peacock" and "Monkey Picking Peach" brought the locals to a completely different Eastern world.
Behind the gorgeous show in Romania, 12 staff members from Zigong spent more than 20 days to make it happen with countless LED lights.
"The Zigong Lantern Festival not only added brilliance to the Sibiu International Theater Festival, but also provided many Romanians with the opportunity to enjoy the famous Chinese lanterns for the first time in their life," Christine Manta Klemens, vice chairman of the Sibiu County Council, said.
Such a light show settled in Sibiu not only helped the Romanian audience to understand Chinese culture, but also enhanced the influence of museums and Sibiu, she added.
Jiang Yu, Chinese ambassador to Romania, said at the opening ceremony that the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries have always presented a broader public acceptance and social influence than other fields.
These exchanges have for years become a positive driving force for the promotion of China-Romania relations and a strong bond for maintaining the friendship of the two peoples, she added.
The Chinese lanterns would not only illuminate a museum, but also shine on the way forward for the development of the traditional friendship between the Chinese and Romanian people and light up the hope for a better future of mankind, the ambassador said.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Chinese Embassy in Romania worked closely with the Sibiu International Theater Festival, a major theater festival in Europe, launched the "Chinese Season" this year.
During the festival, over 3,000 artists from more than 70 countries and regions offered no less than 500 performances in the major theaters, concert halls, avenues and plazas in Sibiu.
The Sichuan opera "Li Yaxian," a Chinese version of "La Traviata," the experimental Peking Opera "Idiot," and the modern dance drama "Life in Motion" were also unveiled at the ten-day international theater festival, attracting a large audience and winning praise from local citizens and foreign visitors.
The lantern festival offered by Zigong Haitian Culture Company is the highlight of the "China Season."
Constantin Chiriac, founder and chairman of the Sibiu International Theater Festival, told an earlier press conference that the largest light show in Central and Eastern Europe so far "will bring a new experience to the local citizens," letting people to understand Chinese traditional culture from the hustle and bustle of the lamps.
"Culture is the soul of a country and a nation," Constantin Oprean, dean of the Confucius Institute in Sibiu, said, adding that he just came back from China where he signed an agreement on traditional Chinese medicine cooperation.
"In the near future, we will experience the charm of the Chinese medicine in Romania," he added.
"The rapid development in China has not only solved the problem of food and clothing, but also built the country into the world's second largest economy," Oprean said. "If you want to understand today's China, you must go to China to see it with your own eyes."
The beauty of the lantern show tonight is far beyond everyone's imagination, a young couple with a pair of children said.
The couple pointed at their children sitting by a panda lantern, saying that they want to go to China to see more lanterns and giant pandas.