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Happy Spring Festival celebrated at Brussels' major int'l school

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From lion dance to synchronized singing, performances in celebration of the Chinese New Year bring joy to children and adults alike at one of Brussels' major international schools.

Held at the British School in Brussels, the event is part of the 2018 Happy Spring Festival celebrations sponsored by China Cultural Center in Brussels that will run until early March.

A lively lion dance marked the beginning of an eventful day of activities. "This is the first time I've seen the lion dance, they are beautiful and very imposing, and I really like it," said Sienna, a 12-year-old girl from the United States.

After a series of performances, an introductory film was shown in the main hall to teach children about Chinese traditions. Chen Linxiao, fluent in English and student at the British School of Brussels, used an animation to introduce children to the Chinese animal Zodiac, or shengxiao, which is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal and its reputed attributes.

A Cappella Vocal Band from Baoshan District, Shanghai, brought a fantastic display of classic Chinese and foreign songs such as "Grandma's Penghu Bay" and "Special Love to Special You," and the children were hooked. They danced with the music, at times interacting with the singers. The day reached its climax when young magician Liu Mingya performed before year-five students and teachers, with loud calls for an "Encore" at the end forced the magician to perform one last time.

In the next part of the folk culture day, children were invited to experience the production of woodblock watermark, Shanghai paper-cutting, Luodian lanterns and Chinese knot sachet. Under the guidance of artisans and experts, many children experienced making Chinese traditional folk handicrafts for the first time.

"I really like paper cutting. I also hope that I can have a chance to see China in the future and learn more about Chinese culture," said Geonhui from South Korea.

As an international school, the British School in Brussels is committed to inclusiveness and internationalization. Principal Melanie Warnes told reporters: "We sincerely hope we can hold such an event again, and I am still enjoying the show today, and organizing such cultural exchange activities can also help to create a harmonious working environment."

Over its long and illustrious history, Chinese people have fostered a golden culture of excellence. However, many foreigners only have a dim understanding of Chinese traditional culture. Events such as the Happy Spring Festival allow Chinese traditional culture to open up exchanges between young people at home and abroad, and provide an insight into China's rich history, according to the event sponsors.

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