Chongqing - As London embraces the Chinese New Year, the London Eye is illuminated in a stunning display of gold and red lights, heralding the advent of the Year of the Dragon in 2024. The ceremony, featuring the Tongliang Dragon Dance from Chongqing, a piece of China's national intangible cultural heritage, made its UK debut, marking the start of Dragon Year festivities in Britain.
Scott M. O'Neil, CEO of Merlin Entertainments, among the world's leading tourist attraction operators, together with Deng Zhuting OBE, Chairman of the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA), and Jiang Lei, Minister Counsellor for Consular and Overseas Chinese Affairs and Consul General of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United Kingdom, jointly initiated the lighting ceremony. This act underscored the solid foundation of Sino-British friendship and cultural exchange. Amidst the enthusiastic performance by the Chung Ching Tong London Lion Dance team, the Chongqing Tongliang Dragon Dance, with its longstanding traditions and masterful skills, garnered rounds of applause from the audience, showcasing the unique charm of Chinese culture.
O'Neil lauded the Tongliang Dragon Dance, remarking on the dance's magnificence and beauty as a perfect embodiment of Chinese culture's unique style, elegance, and rich traditions. Deng Zhuting reflected on the longstanding success of the event, expressing his delight as a Chinese national to witness the London Eye's transformation from blue to red lighting. The Tongliang Dragon Dance's UK debut was met with widespread acclaim, endearing it to local audiences.
Li Zhang, Director of the China National Tourist Office in London, was particularly impressed by the Tongliang Dragon Dance's deep Chinese cultural atmosphere. This year's Tongliang dragon dance was especially remarkable, showcasing its unique charm during the Chinese New Year celebrations. Zhang believes that the performance not only shared Chinese culture but also helped the British public understand it better, fostering deeper exchanges and friendships between China and the UK.
On February 11, Trafalgar Square will be transformed into a cultural epicenter, featuring an array of traditional Chinese performances, including Kung Fu, lion and dragon dances, opera, and singing. Concurrently, Chinatown will be alive with the festival's spirit, offering an assortment of New Year delicacies and market stalls.
The London Eye's festive lighting during the Chinese New Year provides a sense of home for the Chinese community in the UK. It introduces the richness and dynamism of traditional Chinese culture to a wider British audience. This event is anticipated to enhance Chinese-British cultural ties and contribute to the further development of bilateral relations. Following this, the Chongqing Tongliang Dragon Dance will feature in additional Chinese New Year celebrations, such as the LCCA's New Year parade and the Trafalgar Square New Year celebration, continuing to promote the unique charm of Chinese culture and the cultural heritage of Chongqing to the UK and beyond.
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