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Spring blooms across globe

From dazzling parades to cultural events, countries gear up to celebrate Chinese New Year. Minlu Zhang in New York, Zheng Wanyin in London, Yang Wanli in Bangkok and Xu Weiwei in Hong Kong report.

By Minlu Zhang,Zheng Wanyin,Yang Wanli and Xu Weiwei | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-09 07:52

A lion dance balloon sculpture is seen in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Jan 18. ZHANG WENZONG/XINHUA

Festive mood

California embraces diverse celebrations, offering more than 40 ways to engage in both in-person and virtual events.

San Francisco has the largest Chinatown in the US, and New Year celebrations have been taking place there since the 1860s.

The Chinese New Year Parade is one of the few remaining illuminated night parades in North America and the biggest parade celebrating the New Year outside of Asia.

In London, the London Eye wheel glittered in red and gold, two colors that symbolize joy and prosperity in Chinese culture, to count down to Chinese New Year on Feb 8.

Prior to the transformation of the London Eye, the Chinese New Year mood has built across the United Kingdom.

On Feb 1, an exhibition of zimingzhong, or striking clocks that were collected by Chinese emperors during the 1700s, kicked off at London's Science Museum, showcasing more than three centuries of exchanges between China and the UK.

In the display, more than 20 resplendent clocks were brought from the Palace Museum in Beijing and shown in the UK for the first time.

The timepieces reveal the early trade history of the two countries, because many were made by British craftsmen, designed for the Chinese market, and taken to China's south coast to be traded for silk, tea, and porcelain. The exchange of goods led to the exchange of skills, represented by exhibits that were constructed using both Chinese and European technologies.

"We are excited to welcome everyone to join us in celebrating the opening of the exhibition and the Year of the Dragon," said Jane Desborough, keeper of science collections at the Science Museum and curator of the exhibition.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to join in a carnival on Feb 11 organized by the London Chinatown Chinese Association, or LCCA, that will include a lively parade, stage performances, and food stalls surrounding Trafalgar Square.

Up north in Scotland, Edinburgh has been witnessing a festive atmosphere since Feb 3, with a wave of activities, including shows of hanfu (a traditional Chinese style of clothing), Chinese calligraphy workshops, red envelope giveaway games and more.

Since its inception in 2019, the Edinburgh Chinese New Year Festival has become the largest celebration of its kind in Scotland, according to Rob Lang, chair of Edinburgh Tourism Action Group's China Ready Initiative.

"Chinese New Year is a fantastic opportunity to encourage our people of Edinburgh to learn more about Chinese culture and history, and it is something that is at the core of the entire city," Lang said.

In Birmingham, England, Chinese pianist Xiao Di hosted her 12th annual Didi & Friends Chinese New Year Concert on Feb 8, where musicians from different genres played a mix of traditional Chinese and Western pieces.

Daniele Rosina, a conductor for the concert and director of orchestral studies at the University of Birmingham, said being involved was an "honor" and that he appreciated the strong emphasis on gathering for the Spring Festival.

Thailand and other Asian countries are also lighting up for Spring Festival celebrations.

Provinces and cities across Thailand organize big celebrations for the Chinese New Year and a series of cultural feasts of performances along with illuminations that fan out to welcome the Year of Dragon.

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