Int’l Family Carnival makes expats feel like home

June 25 15:56 2021

Although 20 families had registered to come, many more showed up on the June 6th performance of the Spanish DJ Nicolas.

Teamed up via Ecc Connections — a platform that bridges expats and the local communities, Hangzhou feel co-hosted the International Family Carnival in celebration of Duanwu (also known as the Dragon Boat Festival) in Qianyun Community.

The carnival kicked off with a ballet, the Nutcracker, by Elvira, a professional ballerina and teacher from Russia. Her dance was so graceful, relaxing yet powerful that it was long applauded.

The carnival was then heated up with a festive vibe when the two groups of lion dancers went onto the stage, jumping, twisting, back flipping and interacting with the crowd, making everyone laugh. Traditionally played on grand occasions, lion dance is believed to bring people good luck. Ruby from Ukraine, Yvonne from Germany and Ani from Armenia were excited by the lion dance that brought so much joy to their kids.

Sachi from Bangledesh tapped gently on the lion’s head with great joy. A graduate from Zhejiang Sci-Tech University later shared with Hangzhoufeel that he planned to go home soon, bringing home these beautiful memories in his China diary.

Several booths were set up facing the stage, in which the attendees could try sugar painting, paper cutting, and many other Chinese traditional folk handicrafts. Whoever had collected the stamps from all the booths could get a special gift–a delicately embroidered herb sachet that is worn as a traditional folk custom in Duanwu and is believed to be soothing and be able to keep mosquitoes away.

When the breath taking performances were still going on, a Zongzi wrapping competition went on intensely at the same time on their right side. Some of the audience had not had eaten a Zongzi, letting alone to have made one. Nevertheless, they took the challenge of competing against some experienced locals. It was such a surprise that Tania from Ukraine and her team stood on the stage and announced that they won the second prize!

Dragon boat racing has always been an important sport in Duanwu. But have you ever seen a dragon boat race on the land? As a highlight of the event, two teams, each with 5 members lined up holding the handles on each side of an inflatable dragon boat, vied to be the winner. In the traditional dragon boat races, boats are powered by paddling in-line. In this case, all the crew had to “paddle” with their feet and cooperate to win.

On top of the traditional handicrafts, some international vendors were invited to serve coffee and authentic European breads.

“My kid was too excited with the dragons and lions to fall asleep that night,” said Tania. Like other attendees, Tania said as many had been stuck at home for months by the pandemic and some had been separated from their beloved ones, events of this kind in Hangzhou are precious to strengthen family bonds, forge connections and make everyone feel at home.

“As someone new in Hangzhou China, it was also a great chance to meet so many new friends and be integrated into a community,” said Johann from South Africa.

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