Siyang Chou plays the traditional pipa at the Chinese New Year Festival in Casino Helsinki on January 24, 2020. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today / Click to view gallery

The showroom at the Casino Helsinki bathed in red light when the members of the Finland-China Artists Association took over the stage with the celebration of the Year of the Metal Rat on Friday evening.

Performances of various Chinese arts, including tai chi, folk songs, pipa plucking and poem reciting, entertained the guests who had gathered at the tables to enjoy food and wine.

On Friday, the Year of the Metal Rat begun in the Chinese zodiac, and those born in 2020 are considered quite lucky. Rats are hardworking, ambitious and thrifty.

In the traditional stories about the animals who make up the Chinese zodiac, the little Rat ran ahead of the other animals to be named the first of the zodiac. This drive to move quickly is characteristic of the people born under this sign; they desire to arrive first and to be noticed. 

Tony Öhberg