Get immersed in local culture this Chinese New Year

2020-01-08 14:34:16

Want to experience a more meaningful Chinese New Year? Come to the Guangdong Culture Center and make your own New Year woodblock paintings and paper-cuts, two popular decorations for the Chinese New Year holidays.

A participant shows her New Year woodblock painting. [Photo: Liu]

On January 1st, hundreds of local residents flocked to the Center to celebrate the new year and participate in a fun task-oriented activity. After signing up for the event, participants visited the New Year woodblock painting stall, the paper-cut stall and the cultural heritage exhibition hall. They also made their own paper-cuts, printed and colored woodblock paintings, and couplets with images of Chinese gods.

After successfully completing each task, they got one stamp. After collecting three to five stamps, they stood a chance to win some special gifts provided by the Center and could also take home their paintings and handicrafts as well.

A girl makes paper-cut during the event. [Photo: Liu]

In addition, most people, especially the children, enjoyed posing for photos in front of installations festooned with symbols of good fortune and happiness, and posted stickers written with their new year wishes onto the ‘blessing wall’, in the hope of an even happier 2020.

At the exhibition hall, dozens of people were enjoying a guqin (Chinese zither) concert, while some others guessed lantern riddles, watched documentary films and tried their hands at both puppet shows and shadow play.

A boy tries his hand at shadow play. [Photo: Liu]

Does this sound like something you’d love to join? Stay tuned for our latest posts or follow the official wechat account of the center (ID: gdswhg), more such activities will be held before the Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival. All are welcome to join for free!

About New Year woodblock painting

Woodblock printing is an image carved in reverse on a piece of wood, leaving the image’s outline on the wood. The block is then inked and pressed on to paper or fabric.

Types of colored woodblock print were first used to make decorations for the Chinese New Year and then later to depict current events. It is a very popular form of Chinese folk culture and can be found almost everywhere during the Chinese New Year. It is believed these images originate from the door god, painted on doors to scare away evil spirits in ancient times. It was officially named New Year painting during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The Foshan New Year woodblock painting is a wonderful gem of Guangdong folk culture. Since Cantonese people believe red represents vitality and prosperity in business, red is the most prominent color of the door god paintings in Foshan. Thanks to the great efforts of Foshan craftsmen, Foshan New Year woodblock painting has continued to be passed down and developed. (Source: Shenzhen Daily)

Liu Zhongping (left), an inheritor of Foshan New Year woodblock painting [Photo: Nanfang Plus/Zheng Yijian]

About Guangdong paper-cutting

Guangdong paper-cut, a general name for the paper-cutting art from the regions of Foshan, Shaotou and Chaozhou, was included among the first entries of the State-level Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2006.

As a popular art, integral to the everyday lives of the region's citizens, Foshan and Chaoshan paper-cuttings have developed over a long period of time. Different from Chaoshan and other styles of paper-cutting, Foshan paper-cutting is unique due to the materials used. Local copper foil and silver foil are used in Foshan. Variously colored paper and patterns are lined and printed to form a style that is typically southern. (Source: China Daily)

People make paper-cutting during the event. [Photo: Nanfang Plus/Zheng Yijian]

Author: Monica Liu

Editor: Simon Haywood