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Dragon Dance Lights Up London: Celebrating Chinese New Year at the Iconic London Eye

By XINYI LI|Feb 04,2024

Chongqing - In a landmark event to globalize Chinese culture, the "Where Land Meets Sea - Chinese Dragon Dance in (the) UK" event will showcase the Tongliang Dragon Dance at the London Eye on February 8 when the iconic Ferris wheel glitter red and gold on February 8. This performance aims to dazzle the local audience with a fusion of visual splendor and cultural richness, highlighting the vibrancy of Chinese heritage against the backdrop of a celebrated British icon.

On January 30, the Chongqing Tongliang Dragon made a grand appearance at the Cultural Section of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United Kingdom for the launch ceremony of the "Happy Chinese New Year" celebrations for the Year of the Dragon. (Photo/Weber Oriental Ltd)

During the January 30 launch at the Cultural Section of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United Kingdom, Zhao Fei, minister of China's Embassy in the UK, and Paul Milbank, sector lead of arts, culture, heritage at Government of Jersey, ceremonially initiated the "Happy Chinese New Year" events for 2024, highlighted the dragon by drawing its eyes. According to Zhao, this year's festival, distinguished by the Tongliang Dragon Dance and Guangdong Puning Yingge Dance, marks an unprecedented celebration of China's cultural diversity and deepening mutual understanding between China and Britain.

On January 30, Zhao Fei, minister of China's Embassy in the UK, and Paul Milbank, sector lead of arts, culture, and heritage at the Government of Jersey, jointly drew the eyes for the dragon. (Photo/Yu Guo)

Arriving in London on January 16, the Tongliang Dragon from Chongqing assumes the role of cultural envoy for the "Where Land Meets Sea - Chinese Dragon Dance in (the) UK" event, heralding the Chinese New Year 2024. This event underscores the dragon's symbolic journey across continents, bridging cultures and celebrating the festive spirit.

The Tongliang Dragon Dance, recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage of China, boasts a rich history and cultural depth that dates back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Esteemed for its exquisite craftsmanship and regal dance performances in Southeast Sichuan, the dragon featured at the London Eye measures 18 meters long. It was meticulously handcrafted over a month by Zhou Jian, a national heritage inheritor from Chongqing. This dragon, complex in design and vibrant in color, not only showcases the pinnacle of traditional Chinese craftsmanship but also symbolizes the collective hopes for prosperity. The performance, led by the Chung Ching Tong London Lion Dance team, is the result of performers diligently practicing the dragon dance moves from instructional videos to ensure an authentic and captivating experience.

The Chung Ching Tong London Lion Dance team is practicing dragon dance moves. (Photo/Weber Oriental Ltd)

As the embodiment of Chinese New Year traditions, the Tongliang Dragon from Chongqing is set to illuminate the London Eye on February 8. Beyond this spectacle, it will participate in key festivities, including London's annual parade by the London Chinatown Chinese Association and Trafalgar Square's celebration. These performances are poised to enchant the British audience with vibrant dragon dances, extend Chinese New Year's greetings, and display the rich tapestry of Chinese culture alongside the unique heritage of Chongqing.


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