More New Year celebrations come to US

Updated: 2015-02-04 15:28

By HUA SHENGDUN in Washington(China Daily USA)

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More New Year celebrations come to US

Li Hong, minister counselor of cultural affairs of the Chinese embassy, briefs reporters on the series of events the embassy will sponsor or co-sponsor to celebrate this year's Chinese New Year which falls on Feb19. Cai Chunying / China Daily.

More Chinese New Year celebrations in the US will roll out soon to boost the on-going China-US cultural exchange, the Chinese Embassy's cultural minister said on Tuesday.

"A series of events will be held in the up-coming weeks to introduce traditional Chinese culture to the American people," said Li Hong, minister counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

More than 15 celebrations will kick off in the following weeks in Washington, DC and nearby areas, with other "Happy Spring Festival" events in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other places in the US around Feb 19, the first day of the Year of Sheep, Li said.

The DC area celebration this year will last for more than two months, from January to March.

It began on Jan 3 with a Chinese New Year Family Day at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond after its Forbidden City exhibition, displaying traditional Chinese folk arts such as a dragon dance performance, calligraphy, stamp seal carving and the martial art Taiii.

Artists from China's northwest province of Shaanxi are highlighted in other performances.

"The Shaanxi art troupes will bring happiness to American families with Chinese shadow plays and puppet shows in DC area this year," Li said.

Flat cut-out figures with colorful details are held between a source of light and a translucent screen in shadow plays, an ancient art with more than 2,000 years of history in China.

The traditional Chinese shadow plays of Shaanxi were listed in the first round of the National Intangible Cultural Heritage designations.

The Shaanxi puppet shows, under the guidance of artists by strings or hands, are performed with Qinqiang, a Chinese folk opera originated in Shaanxi province, where it was called Qin thousands of years ago.

The art troupe will start at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington on Feb 11, followed by the Meridian International Center on Feb 12, the Smithsonian American Art Museum Kogod Courtyard on Feb 14, Tyson's Corner Concourse Ice Rink Virginia on Feb 15, the Avalon Theater in Maryland on Feb 16, and the University of Montana, Missoula on Feb 6, 7 and 22.

The culture exchange will extend to high schools, museums, universities, and commercial centers and enable more Americans to be exposed to the long-preserved Eastern culture, said Li.

Students from the high school affiliated with Renmin University of China will visit and perform with local students at Georgetown Day School in Washington on Feb 11.

Other events on the schedule include a Chinese film festival at the University of Richmond from Feb 13 to 15, a Chinese painting exhibition at the Tanger Outlets, North Carolina from Feb 14 to March 1 and the Richmond Ballet's performance of Don Quixote with guest artists from the National Ballet of China at the Carpenter Theatre in Richmond from Feb 20 to 22.

The Richmond Ballet performances mark the beginning of the mutual cultural exchange called Road to China and Beyond and will make its Chinese debut at the Beijing Art Festival in May 2015.

"Happy Spring Festival" celebrations of China's biggest national holiday have been popping up overseas since 2010.

About 570 events were held in more than 320 cities in over 100 countries last year, an increase of 50 percent over the previous year.

The traditional Chinese Lunar New Year was recognized as an official day of commemoration in Maryland in 2006.

"There are more Chinese people overseas nowadays and more people from other countries getting interested in Chinese culture," Li said.

These Chinese New Year celebrations will hopefully feed their appetite, Li added.

Sheng Yang in Washington contributed to this story.