Games Village gets into festive spirit

2023/09/30 15:20

Actresses dressed in hanfu pose for a selfie in the Main Media Centre before their show to celebrate the festival. Zhang Wei/Wei Xiaohao/CHINA DAILY

Athletes, officials and media enjoy traditional treats

Mooncakes, jade rabbits, and osmanthus scent ... Cultural elements representing the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival can be seen in every corner of the Asian Games Village, forming a cozy and warm atmosphere to celebrate the reunion day, the sixth medal day of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.

To enable attendees of the Games to soak up some Chinese culture, a series of galas and interactive activities have been held across the Asian Games Village and the host city.

According to Xu Deqing, director of the publicity department of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee, two special events and three evening galas were held in the Asian Games Village during the festival, including the "Encounter Mid-Autumn Festival" Gala, which was held on the Riverfront Walk and the Mid-Autumn Festival Fête at the Volunteer Services Centre in the Athletes Village.

A night fair was held in the Athletes Village, which kicked off with the lighting of a 3-meter high and 5-meter-wide traditional lantern adorned with jade rabbit motifs.

"During the festival, we lit the jade rabbit lights simultaneously in three villages — the Athletes Village, Media Village, and Technical Officials Village — to express our good wishes to all," said Wei Hong, deputy director-in-charge of the Asian Games Village Operations Centre.

"The night fair is a popular leisure activity among Hangzhou residents. That is why we set one up in the Athletes Village.

"They can interact with the intangible cultural heritage, buy cultural handicrafts, experience traditional games, such as shuttlecock, cuju, make lanterns, and try on hanfu (traditional Chinese clothing)," added Wei.

Athletes try their hand at making lanterns at the Athletes Village on Friday. The day marked the Mid-Autumn Festival on the Chinese lunar calendar. Zhang Wei/Wei Xiaohao/CHINA DAILY

The gala, which was held around the Fountain Square on the Athletes Village Commercial Street, showcased dancing, acrobatics, and magic performances, receiving unanimous praise. And some of the interactive cultural experiences in each of the villages attracted long queues.

"They were actively participating in these cultural activities," Wei pointed out.

Swimmer Cheng Camille Lily Mei, representing Hong Kong, China, was lucky to spend the festival with her family.

Her father, who resides in the United States, paid her a visit, resulting in a cherished moment of family reunion and an opportunity to share her joy in winning the bronze medal in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay.

During his visit, Cheng took her father on a tour of the Athletes Village, proudly displaying her medal while they posed for pictures together.

Cheng's father shares her passion for sports.

"She started learning to swim at a young age, and I've been swimming alongside her since then," he said.

For 16-year-old swimmer, Lam Chi Chong, of Macao, China, it was his first time celebrating the festival away from home.

"In the past, I used to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival at home with my family, cooking and enjoying mooncakes together," he reminisced.

To maintain a sense of tradition and ceremony, he carried mooncakes with him to share with his teammates.

Nasser Belshalat, deputy chef de mission of the United Arab Emirates' National Olympic Committee, heaped praise on the wide variety of cultural activities in the village.

"We had a great day today in China as we were celebrating the traditional Chinese festival together with the Chinese people," he said.

"Most of our athletes and officials will go out to see other places in Hangzhou, which is among the most beautiful cities that I've ever been to."

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