The internationals representing Hangzhoufeel participated in the New Year's event. (Photo: Jin Yingying)
By Li Zheng, Liu Yimei, Jin Yingying,Lu Xiao, Fang Jingyi, Lin Jingyi
Nearly a thousand people from various communities walked along the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal on the New Year's Day praying for good luck in the year 2020.
It has become a tradition in Hangzhou that thousands of people walk along the Grand Canal on the New Year's Day to give best wishes to the world.
Invited by Hangzhoufeel, 20 internationals participated in the joyful event.
At 9 am, Miao Chengchao, Deputy Mayor of Hangzhou announced its beginning.
Soon, a red bronze stamp of"Yun" logo made by the Chinese arts and crafts master Zhu Bingren for this event was unveiled. Some other art works were also presented on-site, among others, the director of Zhejiang Academy of Painting Mr. Sun Yong's calligraphy writing "Fu", and Han Xiaoming's the paper-cutting Harmony Blessing which was made at the cost of more than 2,800 work hours.
The walk route covered a total distance of 6.66 km, starting from the Xiangji Temple Square, passing by a few landmarks in Gongshu District, namely, Dadoulu historic conservation area, Qiaoxi historic conservation area, Canal Paradise Cultural and Creative Park and finally went back to the Xiangji Temple Square.
Besides walking, it was a great experience of Chinese culture. Booths were set up along the way where calligraphers wrote "Fu"(blessings) on red papers, giving them away to the participants. Mounting Fú is a widespread Chinese tradition in the Chinese New Year and the character can be found on the entrances of many Chinese homes worldwide.
"I know this character 'Fu', which means blessings. But why should we put it upside-down?" asked Yee, a Thai lady who moved to Hangzhou six years ago and has been fond of the city for its beauty and vitality.
As in Chinese, "到(arrive)" and "倒dào (upside-down)" are homophonous, hanging "Fu" upside-down sounds identical to "here comes the blessings". Yee was pleased with the explanation and gave her wishes of a Happy New Year.
Victor from Ukraine first came to Hangzhou in 2019 as an English teacher. Not long after he settled down, he found the city comfortable for living.
"You'll never go hungry in Hangzhou. Even if all the supermarkets are closed and my refrigerator is empty, it's still convenient to order a huge variety of food via my mobile phone."
Victor took Binjiang where he lives as another example, "everything grows so fast here. I heard that some 20 years ago it was sheer wilderness! Is that true? So incredible! And I love the lifestyle here, I like jogging along the Qiantang River, too. It is always so refreshing!" As to the New Year, Victor wishes that he could just stay in this lovely city, meeting new people, visiting new places and broadening his horizons. This is the exact service that Hangzhoufeel is more than willing to offer.
Nusrat Jahan Nipa, a fashion designer from Bangladesh, studies at Zhejjang Sci-Tech University.
Living in Hangzhou for four months, she has already fallen for the city. "Hangzhou is so beautiful and inspiring for me when making new designs," she added.
She took many photos of the traditional Chinese patterns on her way and said that she strove to integrate local fabrics and patterns with modern arts to develop an international design.
"Hangzhou is the best gift for me. I wish I will do more creative work with Hangzhou people in 2020."
"My little target for the new year is to get my PhD," said Sveta from Ukraine who has been in Hangzhou for 10 years and is now studying in Zhejiang University. She has witnessed the big change of the city. "Among the popular cities in China, Hangzhou is my first choice."
Juan from Argentina couldn't wait to share happiness with his parents in Buenos Aires by Skype. He has been studying Chinese at Zhejiang University for one year and is one of the representatives of "Honorary Representatives of Buenos Aires", a program launched by the City Government of Buenos Aires. "I'm excited to serve as a bridge between my hometown and Hangzhou, and it is also a great opportunity to explore the possibilities of cooperation between the two cities."
Seiilka from Kyrgyzstan was delighted with the New Year's event.
Via the official WeChat mini program of "The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal Virtual Tour", participants can collect four stamps along the route to change a medal when they come to the end; they can also take a virtual tour and explore more of the UNESCO world heritage sites on their mobile phones.
Hangzhou as a tourist destination has not only witnessed growing popularity but also become one of the most livable and attractive cities in China.
It has introduced a number of measures to lure the internationals, including easier processing of visa and residence permits, large cash payments, and research subsidies. By improving its government services, cutting taxes and fees, and streamlining administrative procedures, the city, aiming at building an international metropolis, is ranked first in China in terms of the net inflow of talents in 2018 and 2019. It also leads the country with regard to the introduction of high-level overseas talents from various fields.
Let' see what the year 2020 will usher in for the internationals.