Shop­ping mall em­braces Chi­nese New Year

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By HUA SHENGDUN in Wash­ing­ton

Chi­nese knots and cou­plets for the first time were on dis­play in a Wash­ing­ton area mall a day af­ter Valen­tine’s Day. It was one small step for the Chi­nese folk arts, but a gi­ant leap for Chi­nese New Year in the US re­tail space.

“We aim to em­brace dif­fer­ent cul­tures and dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties and cel­e­brate with them be­cause that’s what the cen­ter is all about,” Becca Will­cox, events and com­mu­ni­ca­tions manager of the Tyson’s Cor­ner Cen­ter in McLean, Vir­ginia, said on Feb 15 at the mall’s con­course ice rink. It was the shop­ping cen­ter’s first Chi­nese New Year cel­e­bra­tion, com­mem­o­rat­ing the Year of the Ram.

Will­cox sai d the cen­ter would bring more events to “a plethora of dif­fer­ent groups, Chi­nese in­cluded, for they are sup­port­ers of the busi­nesses and help boost the econ­omy”.

From noon to 4 pm, the shop­ping mall fea­tured a va­ri­ety of tra­di­tional Chi­nese folk arts by both lo­cal art troupes and pro­fes­sional per­form­ing groups from China. Fea­tured on stage were the lion dance, wooden pup­pet shows, shadow pup­pet per­for­mance and Chi­nese folk mu­sic.

The cer­e­mony be­gan when the Wong Peo­ple Chi­nese lion dance troupe from Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity per­formed its dance.

Lisa Yang and Yashar Garzan, artists from the Wash­ing­ton Guzheng So­ci­ety, a non­profit mu­si­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion, played Spring Over­ture, Sis­ters, and Scene of Changan on the guzheng, an an­cient mu­si­cal in­stru­ment with an 1,800-year his­tory.

A group of 15 from the Shaanxi Folk Arts Troupe per­formed the tra­di­tional north­west­ern Chi­nese folk pup­pet drama, an an­cient art­work with more than 2,000 years’ his­tory.

Also on dis­play were some tra­di­tional Chi­nese demon­stra­tions and ac­tiv­i­ties, rang­ing from pa­per-cut­ting and Chi­nese cal­lig­ra­phy to red pa­per lan­tern-mak­ing and fan-paint­ing.

An es­ti­mated 1,000 cus­tomers braved the frigid weather to at­tend the cel­e­bra­tion, ac­cord­ing to the event’s or­ga­niz­ers.

Stella An­der­son, a staff mem­ber at the mall, dressed as a panda doll, the first time she cel­e­brated Chi­nese New Year like this, drew throngs of chil­dren. “It feels won­der­ful,” she said.

Ali­cia Shen, who set­tled in the US 15 years ago from Shang­hai, took her daugh­ters, Lu­cia and Yas­mine, to the event. “Look, this is Shadow Puppy, a tra­di­tional Chi­nese play,” Shen said to Yas­mine, 4, point­ing to the stage.

“I talk to them in Chi­nese at home,” said Shen, hop­ing that her US-born chil­dren would re­tain Chi­nese Man­darin.

“We will fly back to Shang­hai in a few days; they will get more chances to prac­tice Chi­nese.”

The Chi­nese New Year cel­e­bra­tion, hosted by the cen­ter and the Chi­nese Em­bassy, was also a part of the Happy Chi­nese New Year se­ries, ini­ti­ated by the Chi­nese Min­istry of Cul­ture in 2010. Sheng Yang in Wash­ing­ton con­trib­uted to this story.

FOR CHINA DAILY SHENG YANG /

A child

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