Museum ‘fever,’ crowded expos, strong box office fuel holidays
May Day festival sees unprecedented cultural feast
Published: May 03, 2023 11:09 PM
Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT

During the May Day holiday, 29-year-old tourist surnamed Xu traveled to Yanbian, the only autonomous prefecture for China's Korean ethnic group and a hit tourism spot in Northeast China's Jilin Province, to shoot photos dressed up in the makeup and clothing of the bride of China's Korean ethnic people . 

She told the Global Times that she was quite satisfied with the photos and the experience helped her get to know the culture of the Korean ethnic group better.

During the five-day holidays that ended on Wednesday, many Chinese tourists like Xu sought out special travel experiences. The photos they took show similar makeup, clothing and poses, leading to the hashtag "assembly line princesses" to start trending on Chinese social media. 

According to a video that went ­viral on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, many Chinese women wearing hanfu, the traditional clothing of the Han ethnic group, have been visiting museums, both to take photos and to enjoy the exhibitions on display. 

In the prestigious Palace Museum in Beijing, an exhibition on cultural relics from Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region has attracted many visitors. The three sections on "flowers" demonstrate the integration of various ethnic groups living in the region.

Besides holding exhibitions on local culture, many Chinese museums chose to cooperate with overseas museums to launch exhibitions on foreign cultures.

Narration of an Ancient Civilization - Special Exhibition of Ancient Syrian Civilization held in Shanxi Museum displays 195 artworks from Syria to present the country's rich cultural heritage.

"With increased living standards, more Chinese are pursuing a healthy mental life instead of just a good material life. This can be seen in the cultural tourism boom and the consumption of cultural products at some historical sites," Yu Jinlong, a cultural critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times.

Besides rich exhibitions at museums, many art fairs and musical festivals have also returned, thrilling many Chinese.

For example, the 2023 Beijing Contemporary Art Expo kicked off on Friday at the China Agricultural Exhibition Center. The event has attracted about 80,000 visitors over its first four days, becoming the most-visited art fair in China, according to the expo's organizers.

Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Contemporary Art Expo

Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Contemporary Art Expo

The first Hotan Electronic Music Festival kicked off in Hotan Prefecture, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Tuesday, attracting thousands of visitors to celebrate the music feast.

Movie-watching was also a highlight of the holidays as the box office for the period reached 1.5 billion yuan ($217 million), according to Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan.

A total of 13 films were released during the holiday, with Chinese military film Born To Fly, comedy Godspeed and romance film All These Years topping the box office, followed by the Japanese hit anime film The First Slam Dunk.

Liu Zhenfei, an industry analyst at Maoyan, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the rich variety of films gave moviegoers plenty of reasons to enter cinemas. Similar to the 2023 Spring Festival film period, which was driven by blockbusters The Wandering Earth II and Full River Red, Born To Fly and Godspeed are neck and neck when it comes to taking the box office crown. 

He pointed out that the three-year COVID-19 pandemic weakened people's movie-watching habits, but thanks to the release of new films after the Spring Festival, the total number of moviegoers as well as the number of tickets sold per capita have increased compared with the same period in 2021.