Celebrating Spring Festival in an Olympic way

Li Jiayao
2022-02-04 16:36:09

BEIJING/CANBERRA, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Before the Spring Festival, Fan Haifeng in north China's Hebei province pasted his new couplets on both sides of his door which read:

"Dreams arise from ice and snow;

"Athletes compete as flowers grow."

From the couplets, it's easy to see the expectation of the 50-year-old on the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, which will open on Friday.

His hometown, Yuxian County of Hebei, is famous for paper cutting. This year the paper-cuts on Fan's windows include the mascots of the Winter Olympics and winter sports such as snowboarding and ski jumping.

"The Spring Festival is special for us this year," he said, smiling. "The traditional festival coincides with the Winter Olympics, and I would like to show our 'double-happiness' in the couplets."

To make this Chinese New Year more special for Fan is his daughter is serving as an emergency doctor at the Olympics.

Spring Festival, which marks the beginning of the Chinese calender year, is the most important festival for Chinese people and an occasion for family reunion. This year, Fan's 26-year-old daughter Fan Jingshu, is nearly 200 kilometers away in the closed loop in Chongli competition zone, where some snow events of Winter Olympics are held.

"This is the first time I couldn't celebrate Spring Festival with my parents," she said. "But the Winter Olympics is a rare and important occasion for China, and I am so happy to be part of it."

Like the doctor, many athletes and media staff from across the world were also watching the Spring Festival gala on Monday evening in the closed loop, such as Fabiana Fonseca with the Olympic Broadcasting Services.

"This is really similar to something that we have in Brazil," she said.

She learned how to write Chinese character "Fu", which means good luck, on a red square piece of paper. She told Xinhua that a volunteer taught her how to pronounce the character as well, and she decided to bring the paper back to her home in Brazil and put it on the wall.

Ecuadoran skier Sarah Escobar turned 20 on Tuesday. Because it was the Chinese New Year, she was gifted with a Chinese knot from the venue manager.

"The volunteers wished me Happy New Year as soon as I arrived," she said. "The venues are beautiful and I have already taken about 1,000 photos."

As the first female athlete representing her country in South America, Escobar will be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony on Friday.

For the Australian team, Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt made history on Jan. 16 by becoming the country's first Olympic curlers.

"I like having the two festivals (Winter Olympics and Spring Festival) joining together in a way like that they really compliment each other," said Hewitt.

"That's so important, and is something that will thrive from this Olympics going forward as well," he said. "And I hope that it helps [promote] relationships between all these different athletes and countries around the world."

About 9,000 kilometers away in Canberra, Australia, Wang Jiao looked forward to watching the Winter Olympics on TV. His 12-year-old daughter Anastasia is learning figure skating and has won numerous prizes in the sport.

"This is the first time China hosts the Winter Olympics, which starts during the Spring Festival this year," said Wang. "Hopefully the occasion could help popularize Chinese culture."

Switching on his laptop, he showed Anastasia different winter sports at the Olympics. While being eager to see the competitions, the girl would like to send her greetings to the Olympic athletes.

"Good luck to the athletes," she said. "I hope you have a great time there, and happy Chinese New Year."

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