Global Spring Festival events unveiled by Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Global Spring Festival events unveiled by MCT
Published: Jan 18, 2024 10:17 PM
Photo: Wu Jie/GT

Photo: Wu Jie/GT

China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) has rolled out a wide range of Spring Festival themed events and activities to celebrate the traditional Chinese festival and promote its endeavor to inscribe the festival as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, according to a media briefing held by the ministry in Beijing on Thursday. 

Ranging from art performances, intangible cultural heritage exhibitions to overseas carnivals and educational tours, the "Joyful Chinese New Year" activities will take place from January 18 to March 11 across the country, encompassing seven categories with a total of 25 major events.

The Spring Festival is the most important holiday in Chinese culture as it celebrates the beginning of a new year according to the traditional Chinese calendar. This year's Chinese New Year's Eve falls on February 9. People across the country will return to their hometown and celebrate the event with a family dinner. 

The festival was officially listed as a UN floating holiday at the 78th United Nations (UN) General Assembly in December 2023, a move showing increasing global recognition of Chinese culture and its influence.

Shi Zeyi, deputy director of the international exchange and cooperation bureau at the ministry, told the Global Times that the Spring Festival is an integral part of Chinese culture and has become a bridge to promote understanding among people and enhance communication. 

"Since 2001, we have organized overseas Spring Festival activities for 23 straight years. The activities have expanded the impact of the festival worldwide, making it a shared celebration for people around the world. As a floating holiday of the UN, it will strongly promote the exchange and mutual learning of different civilizations worldwide," Shi noted. 

Overseas celebrations will kick off from February 3 and some 500 events will be held in nearly 100 countries and regions around the world, including Spring Festival celebrations in France as part of the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism, according to the ministry.

Some major overseas events include an NBA China Game in the US, Chinese temple fairs in Russia and Egypt and a festive parade in the United Arab Emirates, Shi said.  

"We will integrate Spring Festival celebrations with Hello China, an overseas tourism promotion project aimed at attracting more foreign visitors to China during the holiday," Shi said. 

As regional governments are vying to woo visitors across the country, the ministry also unveiled a diverse array of domestic events for the Spring Festival, such as concerts, drama, acrobatic performances, rural tours, folk custom exhibitions and intangible cultural heritage shows.

Ministry spokesperson Zhang Xuxia told the Global Times that by providing high-quality cultural and tourism products, the ministry aims to enrich the holiday experiences of the general public, satisfying their needs for a joyful Chinese New Year celebration.

Wang Chenyang, director general of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Department of the ministry, told the Global Times that the Spring Festival is a great occasion to showcase intangible cultural heritage across the country.

Writing New Year's couplets, steaming flower-shaped buns, strolling through temple fairs, and creating lanterns are some of the traditional customs that reflect people's shared vision for a better life in the new year, Wang said. 

Organizing a series of events featuring intangible cultural heritage during the holiday will help nurture a festive vibe to promote the endeavor of inscribing the Spring Festival onto UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List, Wang noted.

"More than 10,000 activities will be held in different cities to highlight the culture and craftsmanship of intangible cultural heritage. Meanwhile, major social media platforms will livestream the events for a larger number of online viewers," Wang said. 

Representatives from Nanjing in East China's Jiangsu Province, Changsha in Central China's Hunan Province, Yulin in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province and Liuzhou in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region were invited to introduce their distinctive tourist attractions at the briefing.