US town has a Yiwu-featured New Year
The city of Muscatine in mid-west state of Iowa in the United States was recently embraced by typical Chinese Spring Festival atmosphere. Its “Friendship City”, Yiwu, brought Chinese paper-cutting, Donghe meat pies and an orchestra to the local people.
Lou Xiaoqing is a unique inheritor of traditional Chinese paper-cutting, a cultural project on China’s National Intangible Cultural Heritage list. She was invited to a local school to give a paper-cutting lesson on February 20. While explaining its history and its relation with Chinese New Year, Lou swiftly cut a piece of colored paper into a lifelike butterfly. The students also tried their hands on paper window decorations. Through DIY, they grew their interest into traditional Chinese culture.
Another unique inheritor Zhang Aizhen made Donghe meat pies in a local Chinese restaurant, which were popular among the people as they finished immediately.
A performance from Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra at a local auditorium on the night of February 21 added another highlight to the celebrations. Its encore, a renowned American song Moon River, was well received by the audience.
Most of the audiences had invited Chinese artists to stay with them in the past three years whenever Chinese art groups toured the town. This has not only saved money for the groups but also helped the artists get closer to the local life.
Kim Reynolds, Governor of Iowa, wished the audience a Happy New Year in mandarin at the concert and noted that cultural communications play a key role in promoting China-US relations.
Global Center Group, headquartered in Muscatine, has organized the Spring Festival celebrations for three years. According to President Cheng Sujun, a China-US communication center will be established with photo exhibitions of China-US relationship and a special hall for Yiwu, which will also serve as a platform for cultural communication events.