Foreigners in China: Celebrate the Spring Festival, Experience the Traditional Culture
Updated: 1 18,2023 Source:China IP News

Editor's Note

As the traditional Chinese New Year nears, shopping local-brand apparels, cooking GI (geographical indication) -backed cuisine and appreciating the intangible cultural heritage... intellectual property is warming up to celebrate expats' festival. We invite 5 expats to tell their Chinese IP stories to our readers, embracing the most jubilant days of the year.

"Witness the growth of Chinese brands!"

Doing festival shopping, buying new clothes, going to flower market and other festival must-dos have made Juan Bonani from Brazil very excited, begging for the arrival of the Spring Festival. Serving as a physical education teacher at a Shenzhen international school, Juan is on pace to celebrate his eighth Chinese New Year."Being a family man myself, I enjoy the gathering-around of loved ones," Right now this family man has become a Chinese son-in-law after marrying a local Guangdong lady surnamed Han and a father of two adorable kids.

Juan used to be a professional footballer in Brazil and is naturally keen on sportswear. "Both Li-Ning and ANTA are my favorite Chinese brands. They have become a bigger name as well. My wife always prefers wearing cheongsam, a sure epitome of oriental aesthetics," Juan adds during his eight years in China, he can clearly feel the growth of Chinese brands. For the coming festival – during which he will spend at his wife's hometown-Foshan, he will cook Brazilian dishes for them.

"Inherit the Chinese Kungfu spirit!"

"I have been in China for almost 20 years. I work in education and my school is closed for holidays. I have been busying preparing for the Spring Festival with my family," Brett Searle, a British national, is talking to us in fluent Chinese. He adores the festival. "My first impression of the festival is the hustle and bustle it brings. You can do lots of fun things, like cleaning house, fixing couplets and having a family dinner."

Searle is deputy headteacher of elementary school section, Beijing International Bilingual Academy. "A while ago, our school organized students to perform Chinese Kungfu, folklore dancing and other traditional Chinese cultural stuff," He stresses an increasing number of parents put an emphasis on education of traditional culture. They are willing to let their kids to participate in ICH projects, like Shaolin Kungfu and calligraphy, which is important to appreciate the tradition and inherit the human spirits behind it.

Making dumplings, papercuts, watching traditional folklore performances – he tries to make every spring festival busy and full to the max. "Each year, I grab money bags with friends in WeChat groups, cook and talk. The Spring Festival holidays are happy days," Searle adds.

"Amazing papercutting!"

Fixing window paper cuts, tasting marvelous food and watching the Spring Festival TV show - Maryna Belkova, a Russian girl living in Beijing, has begun preparation for the coming festival. Having been in the country for 10 years has not just made her a fluent Chinese speaker, but a local to many senses of life.

"Fixing couplets, window paper cuts, wearing red clothes, eating plentiful fish, cabbages and spending an old-school spring festival are all on my bucket list," She speak fast and vividly, which gives away the joy brought by the festival. "Eating fish means 'having abundance' and 'cabbage' sounds like 'getting rich'. All these rituals carry wonderful meanings."

Belkova tells us she favors the traditional spring festival and the original Chinese culture. She has already mastered papercutting, an intangible cultural heritage (ICH). "When I was at school in Russia, I was attracted by the traditional Chinese culture, particularly ICH. Coming to China and experiencing them myself have given me a great sense of joy." She says.

"Enjoy Chinese GI-backed cuisine!"

Selecting only GI-honored ingredients, practicing cooking skill and arranging menus are what Allison Lapehn have been doing since the Chinese lunar calendar entered December. She also considers herself a bona fide Chinese chef after six years in the country.

Lapehn has sent us photos of the dishes she cooked before. We see dumplings in the shape of a shoe-shaped ingot, steamed fish decorated with Szechuan pepper, tantalizing meatballs and many other dishes that make us hard to believe they are done by a foreigner. "I am practicing Kung Pao Chicken and Red-Stewed Beef, trying to add new items to my repertoire."

Gourmet food goes with vintage drinks. Each festival, Lapehn always gets some drink with friends. "My favorite wine is a GI product from Hebei – Huailai Wine. I may take strong spirits occasionally, Moutai, for instance. These GI products from China go extremely well with barbecued lamb and other dishes."

Watching the Spring Festival Show, having an eve dinner and playing mahjoing has become unwritten promises between Lapehn and her friends. Her burgeoning culinary skill allows her to easily entertain a hungry crowd. "I admire the Spring Festival and Chinese culinary culture and enjoy the get-together of families and friends during festivals. Sharing those GI-backed dishes gives me a sense of happiness."

"See the hope of Chinese seeds!"

Investigating setting fruits of tomatoes in greenhouses, calculating output of seeding of detoxicated strawberry seeds and directing installation and configuration of intelligent seeding equipment are what Israeli agronomist Uri Stern is busy with at a heavily-ornamented Xuzhou (Jiangsu) Healthy Seeds Center during the last days before the Spring Festival.

Stern is a seasoned seeding and seed expert who came to China not long ago upon the invitation of Xuzhou Agricultural Academy and a Chinese seeding team to help execute a project of an intelligent seeding plant. "I am full of expectations in this project thanks to China's policy on protection of new varieties of plants and our Chinese team's patented innovations on seeding," He rates he has enough confidence in the Chinese seeding sector.

But spending the Spring Festival holidays is the first for him. "Traditional Chinese culture is very attractive. This year, I can make dumplings with our Chinese team, go to fairs and enjoy local delicacies!" Speaking of the festival, the septuagenarian suddenly is happy as a child.

Juan bonani's family photo with "Chinese style"

Brett Searle is having dinner with his famil

Maryna Belkova is promoting traditional Chinese culture

Uri Stern is investigating in greenhouses

Allison Lapehn is showing Chinese cuisine