Chinese New Year's celebration in Archa theatre

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The experimental Archa Theatre in Prague has organized a very special event to welcome the Chinese New Year, the Year of Horse, to begin on February 11th. February 11th is a day when two and a half billion people in China and East Asia welcome in the new year. It's a spring holiday, a kind of combination of European Christmas and New Year's celebrations. It is typical for families to get together at least once a year on this holiday, and relatives from remote parts of China meet in one of their relation's houses. By Alena Skodova.

Years in China are counted according to a lunar calendar,, and each year has a name of a sign from the Chinese zodiac. On February 11th , the year of the snake will end and the year of the horse will begin.

The main star of the special show in the Archa theatre is Chinese artist, Fen-Jun Song, who has lived in Prague since 1985, and besides being an outstanding singer, she is also a doctor of comparative linguistics. She explained to me what the celebration would look like:

"It's a Chinese event and a cultural event in the Chinese and oriental style, because the evening on the 8th of February will be a celebration of the biggest Chinese festival, the Spring Festival. First you will hear Chinese, Tibetan, Korean and Indonesian folk songs, as well as other ethnic songs during the evening. The things that we will see - that will be the whole atmosphere of the Spring Festival, for instance the calligraphy in the Chinese style, used specially for the spring festival - it will be the main decoration in the theatre. Also, you can get the best Chinese teas and taste some Chinese wines, and probably there will be a Chinese surprise, but I won't talk about it now, you will see what it is."

Part of the celebration will be a launch of Fen-Jun's new CD which she recorded with Czech musicians. It's called Mountain Caravan and it's not the only one she has made in the Czech Republic.

"I've recorded two CDs with Chinese folk songs and other ethnic songs from East Asia. The first CD has a name San Ni Som, the second is called Mountain Caravan. I sing the songs mainly in Chinese, only several of them I sing in the Tibetan language, but I'm not Tibetan, you know, so my Tibetan language is not fully correct. I cannot speak Tibetan, it's only a sound imitation..."

There's a constantly growing interest in oriental art in the Czech Republic, and the Archa people said the theatre was hopelessly sold out for the 'Chinese celebration'.