Chinese New Year in Hainan ①: Spring Festival in Zapo Village

By / HICN / Updated: 12:05,11-February-2021

Editor’s Note:

The ox plows the lush green fields, and the bird sings on branches covered in bright red flowers. As the earth begins to awaken from her winter nap, we welcome in 2021, the Chinese New Year of the Ox. Spring Festival is China’s most important, most festive, and most traditional holiday, rich in symbolic activities like pasting up Spring Festival couplets beside your door, hanging red, glowing lanterns, reuniting with friends and family, making wishes for the new year, attending temple fairs…

Spring Festival has been celebrated in China for 4,000 years. In Hainan, China's only tropical island province, Spring Festival customs and traditions can differ from village to village, and town to town. Seeing off the Kitchen God, sweeping the house clean, making New Year’s rice cakes, “surrounding the stove” with dish after dish of tasty traditional foods, lighting up the whole house, and staying up all night to welcome in the New Year are all local Hainan Spring Festival customs.

As Chinese traditions become more well-known across the globe, more and more people have joined the celebrations all around the world. As the Year of the Ox arrives, the sweet aroma of the Chinese New Year is once again drifting over the seas.

To share the Chinese New Year celebrations with the world as we welcome Spring Festival here in Hainan, the Hainan International Media Center and the Hainan International Communication Network are putting together a special series on Spring Festival in Hainan.

We’ve sent three international reporters, Lara, Tommy, and Polina, to Li mountain villages, into ancient lanes, and to all kinds of different places to discover how the people of Hainan celebrate the New Year, experience for themselves the unique Spring Festival atmosphere on the island, and get a feel for Hainan’s special holiday customs.

(Photo by Meng Meishun)

The Spring Festival is upon us!

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway to  broaden your cultural horizons and soak up the beautiful tropical atmosphere that the Lingshui county emanates, then visiting the Zapo Village is the ideal place for your feet to touch ground! The Zapo village allows visitors to take a more intimate peek into the culture and customs of our Li minority. If you follow the rhythmic and beat-filled music you hear in the village, you might just be lucky enough to find the Li people moving gracefully and effortlessly between the bamboo sticks slamming on the floor. Their eye-catching clothing with popping patterns makes the aesthetic experience even more enjoyable! For first-time bamboo dancers - this is definitely a thrilling experience and challenge. Not only should you focus on getting the steps right, but you also need to think about moving at exactly the right time to prevent your feet from turning into pancakes!

(Photo by Meng Meishun)

(Photo by Meng Meishun)

The Li brocade might be captivating to the eye, but if you really want to gain admiration for these stunning patterns, then you should go to take a look at the Li ayi’s making their beautiful brocades in real time! As part of their culture, weaving the blessings into the brocaded clothes that they give their children and grandchildren makes the custom all the more special. Some selected pieces of material take over a month to complete!

Why don’t you take a trip to the Lingshui county to celebrate the Chinese New Year festivities? Want to know more details about our exciting adventures in Zapo Village? Click on the video to check it out!

Executive Producer: Han Chaoguang Luo Jianli

Chief Planner: Chen Shuhuan

Producer: Wang Jingxuan

Host: Lara Netherlands

Cameraman: Meng Meishui, Chen Yuanneng

Reporter/Editor: Lin Jianing

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