"Joyful Dragon for a Happy Chinese New Year" Cultural Events Shine in San Francisco Festive Joy of the Chinese Year of the Dragon Resonates Across the Ocean


From January 31 to February 1, 2024, local time, the "Joyful Dragon for a Happy Chinese New Year" events, as part of the "Happy Chinese New Year" cultural program, took place successfully in San Francisco, USA. A variety of cultural activities including the Chinese New Year Reception at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, Intangible Cultural Heritage Campus Outreach, and Zodiac-themed flash-mob, conveyed the excitement of ushering in the Year of the Dragon across the ocean. These initiatives facilitated a greater understanding of Chinese Zodiac culture among the American audience, fostering a deeper cultural exchange between China and the United States.

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Joyful Dancing for a

Happy Chinese New Year

(Source of Image:Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchange Center)

This cultural exchange event series was sponsored by the Beijing Municipal Culture and Tourism Bureau and organized by the Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchange Center. On January 31, the "Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of the Establishment of China-U.S. Diplomatic Relations and the Chinese New Year" event was successfully held at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco. The event was attended by over two hundred guests, including China's Consul-General in San Francisco Zhang Jianmin, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, and Chairman of the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation Jeffrey Greene, as well as local dignitaries and representatives from major institutions. Over 20 media outlets, including Xinhua News Agency, China News Service, People's Daily Online, China Daily, Phoenix TV, ABC 7, The San Francisco Standard, Sing Tao Daily, World Journal, and The China Press, attended and reported on the event.

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Speech by Zhang Jianmin, Consul General of China in San Francisco

(Source of Image:Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchange Center)

The reception featured a diverse array of artistic performances, including the dance "Rhythms of Youth", pipa solo "Dragon Boat", yangko dance "Welcoming Spring", and pipa & oboe ensemble "Descendants of the Dragon". The performances were meticulously curated to highlight the Year of the Dragon theme and convey the cultural and spiritual essence of China's diverse ethnicities, as well as the rich historical legacies of the Chinese culture through various art forms including music, dance and song.

The accompanying photography exhibition "Hello, Beijing" captured the charms of Beijing as a city with a history of 3,000 years, including its more than 860 years as the capital, by showcasing images of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage. It also highlighted contemporary Beijing's high-level openness as a crucial hub for the "Belt and Road" initiative. The exhibition featured award-winning designs from the Global Zodiac Design Competition throughout the years, along with relevant cultural and creative products. This visually introduced American guests to the cultural richness and significance of the Year of the Dragon. The dragon (or "loong" in Chinese) embodies the Chinese people's long-standing pursuit of an ideal personality and conveyed the auspicious blessings of the Year of the Dragon. Simultaneously, promotional activities for inbound tourism in Beijing allowed international friends to discover the then-current and enchanting cultural and tourist attractions in the city.

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photography exhibition "Hello, Beijing"

(Source of Image:Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchange Center)

During the interactive display of intangible cultural heritage, Han Bing, inheritor of Beijing shadow puppetry, presented the history and performance techniques of this art form in English, and delivered a captivating live performance. Guo Xiaoxia, the inheritor of diabolo crafting, displayed diabolos crafted from various materials and specifications. Through a diabolo performance featuring a "dragon", she vividly demonstrated the ingenuity and agility of this traditional toy.

On February 1st, local time, Beijing's intangible cultural heritage inheritors made a visit to Convent & Stuart Hall Schools of the Sacred Heart San Francisco and Enlighten Chinese School. They guided hundreds of students ranging from elementary to high school to experience the charm of Chinese intangible cultural heritage. Many children actively participated, telling their own imaginative stories through the art of Chinese shadow puppetry. Intangible cultural heritage projects such as New Year paintings, paper cutting, and diabolo allowed the students to appreciate the distinctive features of traditional Chinese aesthetics, further sparking their interest in Chinese culture.

During the exchange activities in San Francisco, the international cultural exchange project "Zodiac-themed flash-mob" conducted simultaneous filming. The Zodiac-themed flash-mob special feature "Dancing with the Chinese Dragon" was filmed at various iconic landmarks throughout the city. The feature was adorned with professional dragon dance performances, showing skilled performers engaging with local audiences and tourists from various countries. Every year, during the Spring Festival, the "Zodiac-themed flash-mob" spans across different countries and regions, showcasing a diverse array of activities including Zodiac-themed flash-mob performances, video shoots, and cultural and tourism promotions. This tradition has persisted for eight years. This year, the event will take place in multiple countries, including the United States, Mexico, and Peru.

At the time of this year's "Happy Chinese New Year" events, just over a month has passed since the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly resolution designated the Spring Festival as a UN holiday. Today, the Spring Festival has evolved into a global celebration. Through the continuous international promotion of the "Happy Chinese New Year" cultural events, more and more people from different countries will come to share in the richness of Chinese culture. This fosters people-to-people bonds and facilitates mutual learning among civilizations.

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