A pyramid is illuminated in red in Giza, Egypt, on Jan. 23, 2020. The Pyramids and the Sphinx in Giza near Cairo have been shining in red in a ceremonial sound and light show on Thursday evening as part of the celebrations of China's Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
by Mahmoud Fouly, Wu Danni
CAIRO, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Great Pyramids and the Sphinx in Giza near the Egyptian capital Cairo have been shining in red in a ceremonial sound and light show on Thursday evening as part of the celebrations of China's Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year.
During the show, the Sphinx was lit in vivid colors while narrating the stories of ancient Egyptian pharaohs with laser shapes projected on the three massive pyramids in the background.
Attended by hundreds of Chinese visitors, along with many Egyptians who are interested in the Chinese culture, the event was organized by the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo (CCC) in cooperation with Misr Company for Sound and Light.
"Today, the Pyramids Plateau is distinguished by wonderful lights as the Chinese red lanterns integrate with the beautiful Egyptian pyramids, marking a meeting between the two old civilizations of China and Egypt," Shi Yuewen, cultural counselor of the Chinese embassy in Egypt and CCC chief, told the attendees.
Shi noted that the outgoing 2019 witnessed "great success" in the rising cultural and tourism exchange and growing ties of friendship between the peoples of the two countries.
The Chinese diplomat stood in the middle of a row of Chinese and Egyptian visitors who together yelled out "Happy Chinese New Year!"
The Egyptian-Chinese cultural interaction has noticeably been growing thanks to the support of the political leaderships of both countries, Fathy Abdel-Wahab, head of the Cultural Development Fund of Egypt's Ministry of Culture, said during the event.
"Over the past few years, interaction between the Egyptian and the Chinese has become stronger and we started to see more Chinese people in the Egyptian streets," the Egyptian official told Xinhua.
"This evening's Chinese-speaking Sound and Light show embodies the depth of the Egyptian-Chinese relations and the harmony between the two civilizations," Abdel-Wahab added.
Chinese and Egyptian visitors were amazed by the ancient Egyptian colorful laser-light shapes projected on the three Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx voiceover narrating the history of ancient Egypt and the mysterious construction of the pyramids.
"We have been amazed to see the ancient Sphinx and the Great Pyramids covered with Chinese red lights. The show is fantastic as it has the pyramids and the Sphinx in the background and the whole scene changes with the change of the sound and light," said Feng Yan, a 40-year-old tourist from Beijing.
"This is the first time for me and my husband to spend the Chinese New Year overseas. We have chosen Egypt as our destination without hesitation, for we admire Egypt's ancient history and civilization so much," she told Xinhua.
Reham Ahmed, an Egyptian young woman who studies Chinese at Cairo University, came with a friend of hers to watch the Sound and Light show and got more in touch with the Chinese people and culture.
"The celebration combines both the Egyptian and the Chinese cultures, so it is attractive to me as an Egyptian and a student of Chinese language," said the Egyptian student, stressing that such events boost cultural exchange between the two sides.
The 2020 Chinese Spring Festival marks the beginning of the Year of the Rat, which is the first in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac.
Misr Company for Sound and Light has recently added the Chinese language to its evening shows at the Pyramids Plateau due to the rising number of Chinese visitors in light of the growing ties between the two countries.
"Now Chinese is one of the main nine languages of our Sound and Light shows. China has an ancient civilization and the Chinese people value our ancient Egyptian civilization as well," said Youssef al-Hawary, general manager of the Sound and Light at the Pyramids Plateau.
"We can see that all our Chinese friends are happy with our Sound and Light show tonight and we wish them all a happy Chinese New Year," the Egyptian manager told Xinhua during the Sound and Light show.