by Maria Spiliopoulou, Valentini Anagnostopoulou, Li Xiaopeng
ATHENS, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- In an art studio not far away from the Athens Acropolis hill, Georgia Psyhogyiou and Maria Foskolaki left aside their brushes on Thursday evening to take a break from a Chinese painting course, in order to enjoy online Chinese music concerts and theater performances and celebrate with their Chinese friends the Mid-Autumn Festival.
As part of an online culture week entitled "A Moonmoment to Remember" running from Sept. 28 to Oct. 5, the two Greek women joined numerous people from across the world who logged in to watch the cultural events and exchange wishes.
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Mooncake Festival, fell on Thursday. It represents people's wishes for a harmonious and prosperous life and embodies people's longing for a family reunion, explained the organizers of the activities.
In Greece, the culture week was supported by the China Cultural Center in Athens. The online programs include exhibitions on the origin, significance, and customs of the festival, live concerts, short videos display, and mini-training classes on moon cake making, painting and others.
Psyhogyiou liked in particular the song "Wishing You Stay Well," an adaptation of a Chinese poem written by Su Shi, a poet in the Song Dynasty. It was sung by a chorus of people from many countries across the world.
"I think they sang very well, everybody from all the countries. The lyrics of the song were really touching and it was an interesting experience to get to see that," Psyhogyiou told Xinhua.
"Maybe it can even reach more people online than actually physically having, let's say, performances at specific places," she added, commenting on the idea of the online culture week due to the COVID-19 restrictions this year.
By participating in such online events or taking Chinese ink painting lessons in the past year at the art studio of Ioanna Lin, a Chinese artist living and working in Athens in recent years, Psyhogyiou wants to learn more about the Chinese culture and the Chinese people.
Chinese is also one of the seven languages she speaks. With a degree in architecture, she has just finished her studies in a tourist guide's school and is ready to welcome Chinese visitors to Greece once the pandemic recedes.
Foskolaki, a painter who is also very interested in Chinese arts, said she feels that she has been able to understand better not only the painting techniques but also the values of the Chinese civilization through the classes over the past year.
Foskolaki said big geographical distances between countries are no longer an obstacle. "Undoubtedly we are all closer nowadays. Nations' cohabitation is a reality, thanks to exchanges like trade ties, etc."
Eleni Mpilia, a philologist and journalist at the "China Greece Times" in the past seven years, joined the online activities this week during lunch breaks in her office with her Chinese colleagues.
"In a difficult period, culture is of major importance and we should protect it in any way possible. We should keep these contacts even from a distance," she told Xinhua on Thursday.
"Culture is a link between nations, a very strong one when it comes to a country so far away. The truth is that for many years we thought that China was so very far away from us that we had nothing in common," she said.
"As years go by, we see that these two civilizations get closer through actions made by the two states, initiatives taken by cultural centers and generally I see people coming closer as they get to know each other," she noted.
Mpilia was impressed with the online festival celebration as well as with China's effective response to the COVID-19 crisis.
"China is addressing the pandemic with great success. We see that while here we are taking restrictive measures, there they are opening up again, and cultural events are included. I was reading recently that more than half of theatres and cultural venues are now open. I think that China is an example for us and if we follow the same way, we will reach a solution sooner," Mpilia said before sending wishes to the Chinese people.
"I wish for health and happiness. I wish for families to come together again, which is the essence of the festival, and I wish for a good harvest," she said. Enditem