For Chinese people, Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, is a time for family reunion. No matter how far they are away from their hometowns, people would return home to spend the festival with their family and friends. However, the 2021 Spring Festival is a bit unusual—many have chosen to “stay local” and spend the festival where they work to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In this context, the internet becomes a choice for people to exchange New Year greetings.
The people of Harbin, capital of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, began sending greetings via online platforms in a unique local way to their relatives and friends who choose to spend Spring Festival elsewhere.
On February 4, the “Lesser New Year” on the Chinese lunar calendar, Harbin launched an online event themed “Let’s Laugh Together.” Organizers released several Spring Festival posters and creative emojis that feature landmarks and winter sights of Harbin, as a way to express sincere greetings and good wishes from the “city of ice and snow.”
To meet people’s demand for cultural products and services during Spring Festival, Harbin has organized more than 200 online cultural activities in four categories: cloud performance, cloud exhibition, cloud tourism, and livestreaming. Though miles apart, people can enjoy high-quality original dramas, ballets, evening galas and orchestral concerts online, without the need to leave their homes. Moreover, traditional celebration activities such as folk dance, folklore lectures, and lantern riddles are also moved online.
Abundant ice and snow resources are Harbin’s privileged assets. In previous years, citizens and tourists celebrated Spring Festival by visiting the Harbin Ice and Snow World or skating on the iced Songhua River. This year, to make up for the regret that people cannot experience ice and snow on site, Harbin plans to present an online tourism activity via new media platforms, which will allow net users to have a glimpse of the charm of Harbin and watch world-class shows staged in the Harbin Polar Land and oil painting exhibitions of renowned Russian artists, among many others, for free. Besides, five museums including the Museum of Heilongjiang Province will provide VR panoramic exhibitions, and 11 museums will present online exhibitions via the WeChat platform during this year’s Spring Festival.
Harbin already developed a new Spring Festival custom integrating culture and tourism in 2019, enabling locals and tourists to experience the charm of the city while enjoying the joyful atmosphere of the festival.
As night falls, numerous red lanterns and colorful lamps light up the Russian-style Central Boulevard, creating a festive ambience. Golden corn, red chili and red paper carrying Chinese character “Fu” (“happiness”) add a folk flavor to the Harbin Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo. The Yingjie Snow Dreamland full of rural flavor and the Sunac Snow Park with a European style are attracting visitors with their intriguing charm.
SOURCE Information Office of the Municipal Government of Harbin