Posts Tagged ‘china’
The biggest celebration in the Chinese calendar gets under way as the Spring Festival begins.
Throughout China, the people are dashing around making last-minute preparations for the Year of the Snake. The festival in itself is more elaborate than Christmas in the West and for many families throughout this densely populated continent (China’s population is over 1.3 billion) it represents the only time of year that all the generations will have the opportunity to gather together to remember their ancestors, share stories and clear the way for the following 12-months.
The Chinese lunar calendar this year is represented by the Snake and it is therefore no surprise that the theme of many of the gifts, decorations, events and even food and drink (snake wine?!!!) are connected with the snake on some level.
From Bvlgari snake watches at a not inconsiderable £3000.00 a piece to handmade red paper snakes and performances of ‘Madame White Snake’ at the Peking Opera House it’s fairly difficult to escape the theme this year.
There are of course some fascinating events taking place around the Country and one of the most notably is the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.
This year marks the 29th anniversary of this event which begins early January and continues until early February officially but it can be seen from mid December until often late February providing the very cold weather conditions continue.
Some of the best ice-sculptors in the world gather together in fashioning this beautiful winter wonderland featuring ice palaces which reach into the sky, some of which are several storeys high. There are some which incorporate ice slides and even a working escalator.
The best of the exhibits feature structures including mazes, bars and hotels, 1500 traditionally carved ice lanterns and popular entertainment in the form of ice skating, skiing, ice golf and ice archery to name but a few.
If you have the opportunity to visit this exhibition, let us have some pictures and we will be happy to feature them on our website.
This year sees the start of the Chinese New Year on 10th February 2013. Celebrating the Year of the Snake.
Beijing being the capital of China is the center of the celebrations for the City and events include Carnivals, operatic performances, acrobats and traditional tea culture displays. Also, there will be local crafts, dancing and local and international cuisine.
Ditan Park festival houses the Temple of Earth which is a large square two storey building with a large moat which is traditionally decorated with Dragons (ying) and Phoenix (yang) and surrounded by substantial trees thought to be upwards of 300 years old. This is a fantastic place to spend the day with your family enjoying some of the rich and varied entertainment on offer.
At midnight the skies over Beijing will be lit up with stunning pyro to welcome in the New Lunar year and ward off those evil spirits.
The most popular and arguably the largest event celebrating the Spring Festival is the Cathay Pacific Chinese New Year Night Parade, which will be held on 10th February kicking off 15-days of celebrations.
Day one starts with this years annual parade ‘Theme’ is ‘World City – World Party’ which will include illuminated, highly decorated floats accompanied by spectacular international performances during this carnival atmosphere including a Shaolin Kung Fu demonstration and Nordic stilt walkers (mmmm – a little random!!).
The second day will see a spectacular Lunar New Year fireworks display. Watched by more than ½ a million spectators and featuring no fewer than 40,000 fireworks including shells, firecrackers and mines, this 23 minute display is going to be pretty special.
Singaporeans welcome in the Year of the Snake with the annual Chingay Parade which features around 2000 performers from a variety of clubs and schools bedecked in highly coloured costumes giving the parade its growing reputation as Asia’s answer to Mardi Gras.
The parade theme is ‘Fire in Snow’ celebrating the true strength of the human spirit when faced with adversity and taking on the challenges head on.
The main event on 22nd and 23rd of February promises a truly spectacular welcome for the New Year. Lion dancers, firecrackers, fire eaters and dance performances brings the people together with their families and loved ones to look forward to a prosperous New Year.
One of the most popular events is held on the Marina Bay floating platform where the area comes alive once again with street performances, music, shopping and gaming, lanterns and of course a spectacular fireworks display.
I know, I did a double take when I learnt that San Francisco was one of the top places in the WORLD to celebrate the Chinese New Year too. Furthermore, San Francisco is recognised as holding the largest Asian celebration on any other continent.
Following on from the Gold Rush of the mid 1800’s there was a massive influx of Chinese immigrants hoping to make their fortune bringing along with them the Chinese New Year traditions to the USA and amalgamated the traditional parade with their more customary celebrations to establish in 1860 one of the largest non-Asian celebrations in the World and it continues to this day.
They hold a Miss Chinatown Pageant to choose a representative for this beautiful City. The event also delivers everyone attending the chance to involve themselves in the making of kites and lanterns, learn about Chinese symbolism and calligraphy and some nifty dance moves too.
The main feature, the parade will end with a 200m+ long Golden Dragon which takes over 100 men and women from local Martial Arts group ‘White Crane’ to carry and move around the gathered crowds. Accompanied by marching bands, this is a spectacular event offering you the chance to have a taste of the real China.
Europe’s largest and arguably the best celebrations take place in London, naturally!
Every year, the festivities grow as thousands of Londoners and visitors descend on the Capital to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The party kicks off with a spectacular New Year’s parade which makes its way through the city until it reaches Trafalgar Square where the President of Chinatown will carry out the ‘Dotting of the Eye’ ceremony which will bring the dragons and lions to life.
At 5:55 on 10/02/2013 a stunning fireworks display will mark the end of the first day of the Chinese Spring Festival celebrations.
If you plan to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Snake or indeed would like to have a few fireworks to help your family to ward off the evil spirits, we are open 7-days a week and have everything from small fountains to full display packs and we would be delighted to see you. Remember, we hold the largest number of 1.3g barrages in the UK and they range from £3.95 to £89.95.
See you soon and in the meantime ‘Gung Hay Fat Choy ‘ which means “Best wishes and Congratulations and we wish you all a prosperous and good year.
Two award-winning filmmakers are ready to dig in to the international passion for fireworks with their forthcoming film “Passfire”.
Documenting fireworks, the people who make them and the cultures behind them across the globe, this production is sure to explode on the big screen.
Brothers Jesse and Jeremy Veverka have spent more than six months planning their latest production, which has garnered support from the National Fireworks Association based in the USA. The film aims to document the rich, yet rapidly changing fireworks traditions that exist around the world and make them accessible to both fireworks enthusiasts as well as the broader public.
“Ever since I was a boy, I would always look forward to fireworks shows on the 4th of July — a fascination I still haven’t outgrown,” said director of photography Jeremy Veverka, 31. “I realized that there are many other adults who haven’t outgrown it either. People have based their entire livelihoods on fireworks, not for the money but for the love of making things go boom.”
The brothers were inspired to pursue a long-term film project on the topic after Jesse, 34, wrote an article for CNN Travel entitled “Liuyang: Where the World’s Fireworks Are Born”. His profile of Liuyang, China - the world’s de facto capital of fireworks – sparked interest from Harry Gilliam, president of Skylighter Fireworks, who signed on as an executive producer for “Passfire.”
“Fireworks have a powerful, almost magical attraction to people,” Gilliam said. “I’m tickled pink that such an accomplished, professional film company is producing a documentary on how and why fireworks affect people so universally. I have been particularly impressed with the Veverka Brothers’ insights and enthusiasm for the link between fireworks and different cultures all over the world, and I am honored to be able to help bring this production into being.”
The Veverka Brothers aim to record the biggest blasts, along with traditional manufacturing methods and cultural affairs with fireworks — a feat which will take the duo around the world. “Passfire” takes an exclusive look at the 36-inch san-jaku shell in Japan. This legendary 36-inch shell, which takes six months to craft, weighs about 400 pounds and costs almost as much as a new car. Also in Japan, “Passfire” shows how a master shellmaker assembles a 12-inch shell, known as an “ichi-shaku.” Stars (round balls) are sandwiched between layers of bursting charge to create a beautiful burst-within-a-burst affect that is nearly perfectly symmetrical. Watching them being made is almost as beautiful as watching them being used. The filmmakers also discovered that Shinto priests are often on hand at Japanese factories to thank the gods for ensuring the safety of workers. This is just one aspect of culture connected to fireworks that “Passfire” aims to explore.
Highlights of the production also include tours of the world’s largest fireworks factories in China, scenes of jumbo-size Thai Girandolas helicoptoring into the sky, celebrations at a fireworks festival in Tultepec, Mexico, honoring the patron saint of pyrotechnics, San Juan de Dios, and a glimpse of Malta, where Catholic parishes compete with one another for the best fireworks shows.
“There have been some interesting stories about the way fireworks are made, their history, or how shows are put together, but there has never been a film of this scale that looks at the way people show their love for fireworks around the globe,” says director Jesse Veverka, adding that many of the scenes offer glimpses of fireworks that have never been seen by the broader public before.
Despite the global perspective, Jesse and Jeremy realize that a part of fireworks culture lies in their own backyard — the USA. They are documenting the work of Tom Dimock, a licensed pyrotechnician in Ellis Hollow, New York. Dimock co-organizes a special fireworks show every Labor Day, and has won several awards from the Pyrotechnics Guild International. They’ll also be checking out fireworks around American Independence Day (4th July), where the sky of the entire nation lights up with brightly coloured blasts and the largest shows of the year.
“Passfire” is a big project with a budget of around a quarter of a million dollars. The Veverka Brothers have already raised seed money with the help of the National Fireworks Association, Skylighter Fireworks, and independent producers. The filmmakers will launch a Kickstarter campaign to crowd-fund the next phase of the budget on January 28, 2013, in order to continue filming throughout the spring. This production requires support from fireworks fans so the filmmakers can continue production.
This is the largest project that the Veverka Brothers have taken on in their careers so far. Previously, they created the feature-length documentary “China: Rebirth of an Empire,” which screened at 24 film festivals internationally and took home six awards, including Best Documentary. Their documentary short “Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village” and narrative short “Bus to Somewhere” continue to screen at festivals worldwide.
The filmmakers are available for immediate interviews and can be reached at email@example.com or 607-216-4304.
More information can be found at www.passfiremovie.com.
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