With the approaching of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on January 24, celebration activities have been held abroad to bring the “atmosphere of Chinese Spring Festival” to people all over the world. As the Chinese New Year 2020 is around the corner, Chengdu Municipal People’s Government along with Chinese embassies in London and Ireland hosted “2020 Happy Chinese New Year” Chengdu Promotion Activity in local areas, showing the development of Chengdu through “food, scenery and culture of Sichuan”.
“Happy Chinese New Year”, as a large-scale cultural exchange event jointly launched by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the PRC, relevant national ministries and commissions, cultural organizations and institutions abroad, is one of the largest overseas public diplomatic activities held by China. During the “2020 Happy Chinese New Year”, a wide variety of theme activities will be held to showcase the unique charm of Chengdu. These activities include the “New Year’s Eve Dinner Abroad-Tasting Chengdu” Food Appreciation Activity, “Happy Family Day-This Is Chengdu” Tourism & Culture Experience Activity, and “Here Is Chengdu” Thematic Photography Exhibition.
The reporter learned that “Holiday Fun in Chengdu”, as an important part of the event, took Chengdu’s characteristic intangible cultural heritage and panda culture as the media and aimed to promote Sichuan culture and Chengdu cuisine culture, expand the influence of Chengdu, and invite foreign friends to experience the “Spring Festival atmosphere” in Chengdu and celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Joyful Festival Atmosphere
Spreading the “Taste” of the Spring Festival with the “Taste” of Food
A dish not only serves as a key to cultural exchange and cultural fusion, but also becomes the reason for people all over the world to desire to visit the city in spite of geographical limitations. As the Chinese Spring Festival is approaching and the Chengdu Hot Pot Culture Month is booming, Chengdu is looking forward to celebrating the Spring Festival with friends around the world at the same time through the event of “Holiday Fun in Chengdu”.
With the platform of “Happy Chinese New Year”, Chengdu cooperated with Chinese embassy in Spain in 2017, and Chinese embassies in Germany and Greece in 2019 to organize Chengdu culture & food promotion activities, realizing remarkable results in city promotion.This time, Chengdu Municipal Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office has fully integrated foreign-related resources, and made joint efforts with Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Commerce, Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism and other municipal departments to enter Europe for the third time, with the purpose of conducting overseas city marketing and spreading the voice and telling the stories of Chengdu through national public diplomacy platform.
After careful review, it is found that the words “international” and “open” have been mentioned repeatedly. Through the “borderless language” of cuisine which has already had a certain “mass base” worldwide, Chengdu can obviously win more international “fans”, thereby broadening the scope and level of Chengdu’s integration into the world. The reporter learned that as an important part of the“2020 Happy Chinese New Year” Chengdu Promotion Activity, the “Holiday Fun in Chengdu” would work together with Chengdu Cuisine Association to prepare the Sichuan cuisine, with the aim to give visitors a glimpse of the charm of Chengdu as an international gourmet capital by tasting the local cuisine.
On January 17, the “New Year’s Eve Dinner Abroad-Tasting Chengdu” Ambassador Reception Dinner was hosted in Dublin. “Taking cooking techniques and flavor characteristics of Sichuan cuisine as the basis, Sichuan cuisine chefs made famous Sichuan dishes such as Ginger Shredded ChickenRolls, Shredded Winter Bamboo in Spicy Sauce, Grilled Codfish with Scallion, Kung Pao Snowflake Beef, and Mapo Tofu with local ingredients to show the ‘taste of Chengdu’. “The relevant person in charge said that food were inseparable from local economic, community, cultural and other elements, which serve as the “root” of building Chengdu into an international gourmet capital. Therefore, this kind of food exchange can “achieve many things with one stroke”.
At the event in Ireland, many tourists were attracted by the Chengdu elements. “Almost a decade ago, I started my own business in Shanghai. At that time, I met many clients from Chengdu.” Daphne, a lawyer familiar with China, saw opportunities for cooperation. Daphne indicated that this kind of presentation and expression gave her a deeper understanding of Chengdu, and she hoped to start her own business in Chengdu in the future. Like Daphne, there are many people who see opportunities in Chengdu. Luke, the head of a company, said that here he perceived a large market thousands of kilometers away and was considering a field trip to Chengdu soon.
Meanwhile, the traditional Han Chinese clothing was combined with delicacies at the event to spread culture in a “visible” way. In addition, chefs from Chengdu made sweet dumplings in the shape of the panda. The super cute “panda sweet dumplings” attracted the undivided attention of visitors, who rushed to take photos so they could later keep their memory of their visit alive. The preparation and cooking of Zhong Dumplings was displayed at the event. This unveiled the origin and connotation of Sichuan cuisine to their fullest extent and delivered the conviviality of the Chinese New Year in the form of delicacies.
Integration and Mutual Learning
Experience and Promote Cultural Exchange with the Tongue
Dublin straddling the River Liffey is a city of culture dotted with universities, academies of sciences, art galleries, and century-old buildings. London is the largest metropolis and economic center in Europe, as well as one of the most important cultural, educational, sports and technological centers in the world. It’s home to the largest number of museums, libraries, cinemas and stadiums globally.
What’s more, Chengdu hopes to tie the knot in tourism and culture with the two cities during the Chinese Spring Festival — a move in line with Chengdu’s drive to develop into a world-famous city of culture. The featured “Chinese New Year • Sichuan Charm • Chengdu Flavor” exhibition area was set up in a “Red and White” customized exhibition booth at the “Family Day” event in Ireland. In addition, a co-branded cultural creation exhibition area, a derivatives exhibition area, a panda puppet interaction gift area, among others, were set up for citizens, tourists and guests to participate in the event.
The construction of an international consumption hub must include the cultivation of an international consumption market. How do we attract “consumers” from all over the world? The above responsible person believed that the high-level construction of the international capital of food has been deemed as one of the urban development goals by Chengdu. In addition, Chengdu, from a global perspective, would build a hot land for international food industry and create the brand of food city, aiming to highlight the charm and appeal of the international capital of food represented by Sichuan cuisine culture and gathering Chinese and western food, so as to gradually develop into an important food center in the world. “It is significant to promote cultural exchanges because it may create space for extended exchanges in economy, politics, and other fields.”
In addition to food, many cultural & creative and food products of “Holiday Fun in Chengdu” created by famous brands in Chengdu were displayed, including cultural & creative products of “Chengdu Gifts” brands, Heart Panda products, Xiao Long Kan hotpot condiment, Xiangxiangzui dried bean curd and cultural & creative products of Kuanzhaixiangzi Alleys, fully showing the integration and extension of the urban IP “Holiday Fun in Chengdu” and Tianfu culture, and enlarging the influence of the activity. At the same time, the panda puppet gave New Year’s greetings and made interactions, and presented customized panda dolls, Chengdu consumption maps, canvas bags and other derivatives of “Holiday Fun in Chengdu”, and invited all to take photos at those famous sites.
“Obviously, we have benefited from and been deeply touched by such mutual exchange mode. On the one hand, we can have a mutual understanding of respective food and culture. On the other hand, perhaps we will further promote the in-depth cooperation in economy, trade, tourism, etc.” Emily who is engaged in e-commerce told the reporter that she is planning to visit Chengdu. The event, however, is not merely to facilitate foreign friends’ understanding of the Spring Festival in China. All activities carried out have shown strong Chengdu style, ranging from the well-planned Chengdu Meets London/Ireland Giant Panda Delivers the Spring Festival Atmosphere, the panda puppet’s visits to landmarks, such as the British Museum, Tower Bridge, Dublin Castle and the River Liffey, to presenting the New Year gifts of Chengdu style, including customized panda dolls of “Holiday Fun in Chengdu” and red envelopes. The responsible person of the event indicated that through this event, the organizer hoped to send invitation of “Holiday Fun in Chengdu” to European friends, so as to further strengthen the cultural exchanges and collaborative dialogues between Chengdu and European countries, comprehensively expand Chengdu-European trade cooperation, and accelerate Chengdu’s active integration into the construction of the Belt and Road. It has also played a driving role in improving Chengdu’s urban cultural communication ability and global communication ability.