Chinese and Egyptian women shared their respective views on festivals and families at a public talk to mark Lantern Festival in Beijing on February 22. [Women of China/Zhang Yuan]
Festivals are "the bond and a bridge for the family", said Counselor Li Jianhua, wife of Wu Sike, former Chinese ambassador to Egypt, during the dialogue.
Dalia Elsharkawy, wife of the Egyptian deputy ambassador to China, said she had been in China for three years and she liked the way the Chinese celebrate special occasions, especially Spring Festival.
Chinese people prepare for Spring Festival long before it starts. They buy goods and cook dinner together on the eve of Chinese New Year, Dalia noted.
In China, families get together to celebrate festivals and enjoy family reunions no matter how far away they are, said Li.
Doctor Monica Hanna, a student from the American University in Cairo, spent her first Chinese New Year in the Middle Kingdom earlier this month. She said she experienced many exciting sights.
Zhou Zhijun, vice-president of Beijing Women's Federation, shared her experiences of spending Spring Festival in Germany and the U.S.
She said she missed her family even more at festival time. "For Chinese, the festival is a cohesive force," she said.
Gui Fan, deputy-director of Beijing International Chinese College, said that such calendar events are an emotional solace for the elderly and a chance for the youth to reward family affection.
The dialogue, hosted by Li Yue, director of the Beijing Women International Communication Center, attracted over 30 members of the public who engaged in further discussion after the speeches.
The event was part of a forum run by the China Cultural Chamber of Commerce for the Private Sector, China Association of Social Welfare, China Cultural Development Corporation and the Beijing Women International Communication Association.
The forum won guidance and support from Beijing Women's Federation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as well as the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in China.
Zhou Zhijun, vice-president of Beijing Women's Federation, during the event [Women of China/Zhang Yuan]
Dalia Elsharkawy, wife of the Egyptian deputy ambassador to China, during the talk [Women of China/Zhang Yuan]
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