- Event participants send New Year greetings along the banks of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal
HANGZHOU, China, Jan. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- At 9 am on January 1, 2018, China (Hangzhou) Walking and Praying for Good Luck in the New Year 2018, a series of events held in Hangzhou, China in celebration of the arrival of the New Year, kicked off along the Hangzhou segment of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal.
The event was hosted by the Hangzhou Municipal Government and organized by the governments of Gongshu and Xiacheng districts in Hangzhou, Hangzhou Canal Group and China News Service Zhejiang Branch, with the help of the Hangzhou Travel Committee, the Hangzhou Convention and Exhibition Office, the Communist Youth League Hangzhou Committee and the Hangzhou Sports Federation, in partnership with Hangzhou Canal Group Cultural Tourism Co., Ltd., the Gongshu District Bureau of Culture, Broadcasting, Television, Press and Publication (Gongshu District Sports Bureau), the Xiacheng District Zhaohui Subdistrict Office, the Hangzhou International Exchange and Service Center and China Post Group Hangzhou Branch. Zhejiang Shilian Culture Communication Co., Ltd. was responsible for promoting the event through foreign media outlets.
The event invited top executives from companies across China spanning a wide range of industries, tourists who had traveled from near and far including some who came from abroad as well as local residents living along the canal to celebrate the New Year and pray for good luck in 2018 by walking along the banks of the canal. Wang Hong, the vice mayor of Hangzhou said, while attending the event, that the gathering fully showcased the public's deep connection with the canal and that the canal had become an iconic feature of Hangzhou as well as a draw for tourists. The event is expected to be repeated annually, becoming a unique tourism and cultural extravaganza with extensive local participation.
The event was also notable for its international flair. In addition to the design of the stage and other elements in line with current international design styles, the program incorporated the latest trends circling the globe. In embodiment of the theme of the event, The Hustlers, a British rock group formed more than fifty years ago and said to be "Britain's oldest rock band", and Soundscape, a progressive metal act from Southbury, Connecticut, put on an exciting show while leading international DJs Shak and Christian led the warm-up. Specially invited professional dance groups put on performances of dance routines from around the world, including interpretations of the Cancan, the French music hall dance that became popular in 1840s France and remains popular today, as well as the majestic classical dances performed in the world's royal courts more than two hundred years ago.
The launch ceremony featured keynote speeches from leading regional celebrities, a live hook-up connecting the six main cities along the canal, the receipt of donations, goodwill messages ringing in the New Year from the Walking ambassadors, a flag ceremony meant to bring good luck, a light ceremony to accompany a prayer session and the opening of the "Good Luck" gate. Walking ambassador, renowned calligrapher and former vice president of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou Gao Fagen delivered his New Year message to the city of Hangzhou and to all of China via a calligraphy performance. Leading Zhejiang Television personalities Huang Zhen, Yang Kun and Zhao Shi, Walking ambassador and Olympic rowing champion Meng Guanliang, top calligraphers He Shuifa, Gao Fagen and Du Gaojie, as well as award-winning doctor Shen Xinghang, in addition to other on-air hosts from Zhejiang Radio and Television Group camp up onto the stage where they announced their New Year greetings and invited walkers participating the event to write down their New Year messages on the praying wall at the gate of Xiangji Temple. Huang Zhen and Yang Kun boarded a vehicle that hoisted them in the air where they could light up the main screen announcing the beginning of the prayer portion of the event. The First Day Cover stamp and the "Walking for Gold" souvenir medal, jointly created by Hangzhou Canal Group and China Post Group Hangzhou Branch, were presented for the first time at the event. With the First Day Cover stamp in hand, everyone had an opportunity to send a letter wishing the recipient good luck for the New Year.
Gao Fagen said in the interview that the event helps improve a city's image through the promotion of its culture. Each edition of the event aims to connect the local populace with the unique aspects that define the culture of the city or town they live in, enhance social cohesiveness, create a new image for the host city and facilitate the building of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal Culture Belt.