CHINA / SOCIETY
Lantern Festival night gala at Central China’s Henan Museum goes viral, honoring PLA martyrs who sacrificed in China-India border clash
Published: Feb 27, 2021 04:32 PM

Screenshot of Lantern Festival night gala at Henan Museum Photo: Weibo


 Do you want to travel back in time and celebrate the Lantern Spring Festival with Chinese ancestors? Pottery figurines of arts maids in Tang Dynasty (618-907) have been brought back to life by a beautiful tune of a flute and led audiences to visit the Henan Museum in Central China for a wonderful Lantern Festival.

The 2021 Henan Lantern Festival Gala, premiered on Thursday evening and produced by Henan Satellite Station, hit the internet once again, following the dance show "Night Banquet in Palace of Tang Dynasty" going viral on Spring Festival. It has been watched millions of times, with the number of audiences on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo reaching a staggering 400 million as of press time.

It is the first time in China a gala was shot in a real museum. It took only five days to reshoot the variety show of new creativities in six different places in Henan province.  

Following the exploration of the reborn maids, audiences saw national treasures such as Lotus and Crane square pot, the gold slip of Empress Wu Zetian, as well as traditional Chinese opera and martial arts.

Audiences were transferred with the maids to the Yingtian Gate of Luoyang City in Sui and Tang dynasties to enjoy the splendor of the Tang Dynasty and jumped into the painting of Riverside Scene on Qingming Festival to experience how ancient people celebrate the festival.

“This is the perfect combination of ancient Chinese elements with modern advanced technology and creativity. It's an interesting idea to link the whole gala with reborn maids visiting the museum,” 29-year-old Gao Linsen, a PhD student in Harbin, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Songs, dances, martial arts and drama, each program was full of Chinese cultural elements. After watching, Gao felt that people should cherish the traditional Chinese culture and also respect the new culture.

Exquisite songs and dances dazzled the audience, while a Henan opera brought them to tears.

“Young people look forward to guarding the border and old people are happy to see the loyalty of the next generation,” four actresses playing She Saihua ,a legendary heroine from ancient China's Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), sang.

“Why there are four actresses playing the role?” An audience asked through the bullet-screen comments. 

“It must be representing our four Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) martyrs who sacrificed their lives to safeguard China's national sovereignty and territory in the Galwan Valley skirmish with India in June 2020,” others replied.

Martyr Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran were from Henan Province.

“This seems to express the inheritance of the spirit of defending the country from ancient times to the present. It strengthens my pride to be a Chinese,” 28-year-old Chinese woman Luo Linqi who has been working in Japan for three years, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Luo failed to return to China for Spring Festival this year due to COVID-19. She said she is happy there was such a fantastic Lantern Festival for her since she was spending the night alone in Tokyo. She recommended the show to her Japanese friends.

“I’m proud of the broad and profound Chinese traditional culture, which is the stem of our cultural confidence,” Luo said, ‘’looking forward to visiting Henan museum.’’

Henan is a major province of martial arts, and the festival set off a battle between traditional martial arts and modern fighting at the Star Observatory in Dengfeng, which is the oldest stargazing platform in China. 

A team of about 400 martial artists performed traditional martial arts under the star-watching stage. The unity of man and nature was like a rainbow, showing the heroic spirit of the Chinese people.

The cultural identity that flows in the blood of every Chinese is inspired by the Tang Palace Banquet and the magic night gala of the Lantern Festival. The application of science and technology brings history to life. It’s not about the exquisiteness of the festival, but the fact that people can see our culture and history in a whole new way, Shi Wenxue, a Beijing-based cultural critic and an industry analyst, told the Global Times.

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