Diverse cultural elements at the 2018 Spring Festival Gala

Updated 2018-02-16 13:21:04

Hosts at the Qufu sub-venue greet the audicence. (Photo via Chunwan Weibo)

The 2018 Spring Festival Gala, or Chunwan in Chinese, is being watched by millions of Chinese worldwide, as families and friends get together to bid farewell to the old, and usher in the Lunar New Year – the Year of the Dog.

Among the Spring Festival celebrations, Chunwan has become an important ritual for Chinese people.

Along with the usual singing and dancing, traditional instrumental music, Chinese operas, comedies and martial arts, traditional culture has been the focus of this year's Gala.

Venue: Confucius' hometown

This year's gala is being staged at five different venues. Besides the main venue in Beijing, the cities of Qufu and Tai'an in East China's Shandong Province are among the four sub-venues, due to their significant role in the development of Chinese civilization.

The performance at the sub-venue in Shandong began with numerous people reciting Confucius' maxims, taking the audiences back to the ancient times when virtues ruled.

Qufu is the hometown of Confucius, China's most renowned philosopher, but he is also famous worldwide – even more so today thanks to Chinese culture's growing popularity across the globe. In recent years, Confucius Institutes have opened in quite a number of countries and regions, enabling those who are interested in China to learn more about the country.

A screenshot of the 2018 Spring Festival Gala. (Photo/Weibo account of CCTV)

A Chinese character on the stage

The main venue at the old CCTV building's studio in Beijing features the design of the Chinese character "Zhong" – which is also the name of the country in Chinese. The symmetrical structure of the character contains profound connotations, and is a symbol that could represent the nation.

Performers can sing and dance on the structure, which is capable of moving in various directions – a difficult but unique way of performing.

A screenshot of the 2018 Spring Festival Gala. (Photo/Weibo account of CCTV)

Chinese cultural TV shows featured in the Gala

Chinese cultural TV shows such as "National Treasure" and "The Chinese Poetry Competition", were both parts of the variety shows in 2017 and have found their places in this year's Gala as well.

In a specially designed segment, a Chinese map of the Silk Road landscape, which was painted back to the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and was donated to the Palace Museum by Xu Rongmao, the founder and chairman of Hong Kong Shimao Group, was brought on stage.

During this segment, Shan Jixiang, curator of the Palace Museum, and Zhang Guoli, host of the CCTV variety show "National Treasure" both made appearances on stage.

There was also a cross-talk featuring ancient Chinese poetry, which was inspired by the poetry-themed TV show that was aired during last year's Spring Festival. In recent years, the revival of traditional culture has become increasingly popular in China.

A screenshot of the 2018 Spring Festival Gala. (Photo/Weibo account of CCTV)

Inspiration from various local cultures

A screenshot of the 2018 Spring Festival Gala. [Photo/Weibo account of CCTV]

As usual, the dances and songs from local folk art troupes were also a significant part of the CCTV Gala. One of the sub-venues was located in the Dong Ethnic Group village in Zhaoxing, Guizhou Province.

Local cultural elements were demonstrated through the Gala, such as the Grand Song of the Dong people, which has been passed down through generations for over 2,500 years, and was enlisted into the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009.

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