It’s Chinese New Year eve. We all know what that means. After the big meal, there would be four hours of non-stop song, dance and comedy. Like a baptism by fire to being truly Chinese, the Chunjie Wanhui (Chunwan for short), has to be done. For all Chinese like myself who’ve grown up with it, sat through it during childhood, rolled our eyeballs at it over adolescence (when our parents still managed to get it over satellite), as we get older, it’s become a ritual that, no matter where in the world you are, and how you’re celebrating, brings you right back.
Posted in Blog and tagged 2020, china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, Chunwan, culture, gala, show, Spring Festival Gala, variety show
The Chun Jie Wan Hui, CCTV’s New Year Gala, (often just referred to as as Chun Wan), is almost as old as I am, though there had been televised celebrations of a more artistic nature broadcast on and off since the 1950s. On every New Year’s Eve, after the huge meal, my family would inevitably gather round, and watch through four or five hours of this state produced extravaganza, keeping us awake til the small hours of New Year’s Day with the pomp and majesty of costumes, lighting and stage sets; and the relentless exuberance of acts trying to out ham each other.
Posted in Blog and tagged CCTV Gala, china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, culture
In recent year, China has seen the commercialisation of Chinese New Year on a scale it has never seen before, not just within the country, but around the world. Every company splashes red and gold packaging onto its products, and creates a “Going Home for Spring Festival” advert.
Posted in Blog and tagged advert, china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, commercials, culture, film
As we head into Spring Festival, now, during Xiao Nian, is the perfect time to prepare your house and make plans for the greatest annual celebration in China. In the last decade, I have been pleased to see more events held in the UK every year, on and about Chinese New Year. If you’re in London, you’ll probably already have made plans for major festivities in Chinatown. Here’s a concise guide to other events around the wider scope of London and greater London, including some that can offer a wider perspective on China.
Posted in Blog and tagged 2018, celebrations, china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, culture, london, Spring Festival, Year of the Dog
If you’re reading this you probably already know about Chinese New Year, so I won’t spoil the festive occasion with too much scholarly detail. 8 is the lucky number in China so here are 8 festive foods and 8 festive traditions for Spring Festival. Since CNY is as big as Christmas and China is vast, every region has its variation of customs. Having a northern mother and southern father, mine will be a mixture of northern and southern broadly speaking, leaning towards southern because that’s where I spent my childhood.
Posted in Blog and tagged china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, culture, festival, food, Spring Festival, tradition
There are many elements of Chinese culture that I would love to share with my readers. Some, I do my best to convey in my writing, but others you really have to see for yourself.
When I saw the poster for the “Magical Lantern Festival”, I was thrilled that these Chinese silk illuminations are coming to the UK. A traditional Chinese craft relatively lesser known in the West, I was happy that my readers may have a chance to experience these themselves, especially in the gorgeous grounds of Chiswick House.
Posted in Blog and tagged china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, Chiswick Gardens, culture, festival, lanterns, silk illuminations, Spring Festival
Whilst most of my readers will be struggling to get themselves back into physical and financial shape after Christmas and new year blow outs, China is getting ready to let its belt out, stuff the Hong Bao, and generally indulge in the biggest annual festival.
Posted in Blog and tagged Beijing, china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, culture, Guangzhou, Spring Festival, train, travel
This week is Spring Festival 2015. In London’s Chinatown, festive lanterns shine over frantic shoppers rushing about to prepare for the biggest annual feast and celebration, there will be lion dances in Gerrard Street and music performances in Trafalgar Square. Is the thought of pushing through the crowds again making your head spin? Are you an adventurous Sinophile wandering what else there is beyond the bounds of Soho? Here are some things you can enjoy in London outside Chinatown.
Posted in Blog and tagged Aardman, animation, Chang Er, china, Chinatown Artspace, Chinese, Chinese New Year, Chinese opera, Cinderella, film, flower market, jade rabbit, moon landing, music, Polka Theatre, puppetry, Rich Mix, Shanghai Animation Studios, Shaun the Sheep, Shikumen, Spring Festival, stop motion, theatre, Year of the Sheep, Yeh Shen, Yellow Earth Theatre
There are some stories which just spring up time and time again, from culture to culture. Certain fears and hopes in the human Psyche that show we’re all basically the same. “Yeh Shen” is one of these, or maybe it’s several, as the Yellow Earth Theatre draws many comparisons in their publicity, and even in the play’s opening scenes, to Cinderella, and proudly announcing that this Chinese fairy tale is the oldest recorded version of the story.
Posted in Blog and tagged china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, Cinderella, dance, fairy tale, pantomime, play, puppetry, Spring Festival, theatre, Yellow Earth
As we are enjoying our first bank holiday weekend of the year in England, eating hot cross buns, and looking forward to a four-day week ahead of us, I have been thinking about national holidays in China. Even If you are based in the West, you may increasingly have to deal with the Chinese calendar, as companies you work with suddenly shut up shop for “Tomb Sweeping” or “Double Nine”.
Posted in Blog and tagged china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, culture, Dragon Boat Festival, festival, Golden Week, May Day, Mid Autumn, Moon Festival, National Day, national holiday, public holiday, Qing Ming, Spring Festival, tomb sweeping