Locals, expats revel in Lantern Festival celebrations

Writer: Zhang Yu  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-02-06

The whole city of Shenzhen was immersed in a joyous festive atmosphere in celebration of the annual Lantern Festival, a traditional Chinese festival that features family reunions, feasts, light shows, diverse traditional customs and various cultural activities.

Many expats in Shenzhen also found themselves rejoicing in the celebrations as they blended in with local communities and got involved in festival-themed events.

International communities in the city, like Shekou and Zhaoshang subdistricts in Nanshan, and Guanlan Subdistrict in Longhua, held various activities, inviting expats and locals to celebrate the traditional Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the Chinese New Year’s celebration.

In Longgang District, Chinese and foreign artists paraded through Bantian Handmade Cultural Street on Saturday afternoon. Some 20 foreign artists from Shenzhen New Silk Road Art Troupe staged performances for a special celebration under the program — “2023 International Art Talent Enters Community.”

Expats and locals in traditional Chinese costumes join in a Shehuo parade to celebrate the Lantern Festival at the Xiangmi Park in Shenzhen’s Futian District yesterday. Sun Yuchen

Xiangmi Park in Futian District was a hive of activity yesterday afternoon, when the First Chinese Quintessence Carnival of Xiangmihu Subdistrict-The Lantern Festival Celebration presented an audiovisual feast for residents with participating foreign artists.

“The Lantern Festival is an interesting festival that we get to have a lot of Chinese culture to share, like solving lantern riddles, eating some specially prepared food and enjoying the full moon that is a sign of luck, happiness and joy,” Jay Okra from South Africa told Shenzhen Daily yesterday.

Okra, wearing traditional Chinese costumes, together with several other expats joined in a traditional Shehuo parade before a host of fascinating on-stage artistic performances were held.

The Shehuo parade, a time-honored performance enjoying widespread popularity in rural areas across China, is a folk custom in multiple forms consisting of dragon, lion, donkey and Yangko dances, drum playing and other folk performances that varies in different regions.

“When I put on the outfit, everybody was like ‘you’re with us today.’ We are welcomed and really had fun dancing with the other Chinese dancers,” Okra said.

Priyasha Sharma, an Indian postgraduate student at Shenzhen University, dressed up elegantly in a form-fitting qipao for the occasion. “I’m glad I came. The parade was very interesting, and the other performances were amazing,” she said.

Another Indian expat, Ronald Aparajit , was impressed by the cheerful celebrations and said that the event was great as it gathered so many people including foreigners.

“I think it’s fantastic and I look forward to the other traditional Chinese festivals in the following months,” he said.