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Cultural Christmas crossover in Madrid


12-24-2016 00:35 BJT

Millions of people across the world are preparing for Christmas. But in Madrid, even those that don’t celebrate the day, are getting involved in a festive celebration. And Chinese culture is taking center stage.

A winter celebration with a truly international feel. 

The Matadero arts center in Madrid is hosting the La Navidena International Fair of Cultures.

Eighty embassies involved in some 270 activities celebrating a variety of cultures, religions and ethnic backgrounds.

When organizers were developing this festival, they put China involvement near the top of the list. The aim… to incorporate and to celebrate Madrid’s sizeable Chinese population. 

"Madrid is a very complex city. For us, for the municipality, the Chinese people are important because there are a lot of Chinese people in Madrid and participation in this event was crucial," said David Berner, Matadero artistic director.

Among the activities, the traditional Chinese dragon dance. Two dragons snaked their way through the crowd. The performers are all residents of Madrid.

"To help with intergration, we have to show our culture, apart from learning Spanish culture, we have to showcase the best of our Chinese culture and heritage to our Spanish friends," said Mao Feng, Chinese association.

Bruno Tombolato is an Argentinian who opened a Chinese martial arts school six years ago. That school now has some 250 members. He sees the festival as an important shop window for his art.

"I think it is strange to see Spanish people or people from other countries, say South America, doing things with Chinese culture. We are very happy to promote. Every year, we also do some exhibitions for Chinese new year. So this is also another important one," said Bruno Tombolato, Shaolin Cultural Center.

Other facets of Chinese culture are also on display… including traditional dance as well as children’s theatre. A small taste of China adding to the festive celebrations. 

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