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Drones, 3D and VR make Spring Festival customs shine brighter

Illustration: Hang Dachuan/Global Times

Illustration: Hang Dachuan/Global Times

After three years of the pandemic, the recent Spring Festival holiday period (January 21-27) saw a revitalization of Chinese folk customs featuring a combination of music, light, red color and high technology. 

Folk music always plays an important part in creating a festive atmosphere during the Spring Festival. The bamboo suona and gongs in Dazhou, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, and the “bucket drums” and big cymbals in South China’s Guangdong Province are all distinctive folk music instruments. 

The folk singing by the Zhuang and Miao ethnic groups living in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is also one of the typical local customs during the festival.

When it comes to the festival, lights are always a must. In many parts of China, lanterns are being displayed from the first day of the Spring Festival until the Lantern Festival, falling on the 15th day, to express people’s best wishes for the new year. 

The color red is also a characteristic of Spring Festival celebrations. People dress in red and decorate their houses with red couplets and paper cut adornments or send “red envelops” filled with money to children as this color symbolizes happiness and good luck. So red has become an icon of traditional Chinese culture. 
Apart from traditions, new customs have gradually taken shape today. The 2023 Spring Festival was highlighted by high-tech activities that enriched people’s knowledge of traditional Chinese culture. 

For example, ice lanterns, a unique folk custom in Northeast China, now use modern lighting controls, laser decorations and 3D printing technology. The well-known Lantern Festival organizers in Zigong, Sichuan Province, have also adopted digital technology to combine traditional and modern craftsmanship. 

In Guizhou, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, “drone plus laser” technology lit up the night sky with auspicious patterns, sending best wishes to the local people. In big metropolises such as Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai, people enjoyed immersive experiences during their visits to folk custom exhibitions through 3D holograms, virtual reality and augmented reality.

Folk customs are a treasure of traditional Chinese culture. However, with the development of modern society, people sometimes neglect them as they are not as attractive as modern art. But the innovative approaches during this festival have revitalized folk customs and given people new awareness of traditional culture. 

At the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized that “we should ignite the cultural creativity of the entire nation and build a powerful source of inspiration for realizing national rejuvenation.”

In fact, traditional culture has laid the foundation for modern culture and become an indispensable part of people’s daily life. 

Modern culture provides people with better cultural experiences, so it is necessary to develop new cultural forms based on traditions, and the cultural creativity in the new era should focus on taking advantage of modern technology. 

In this sense, the rejuvenation of Spring Festival folk customs through high-tech means is a good example of China’s cultural creativity and the best way for the Chinese people to rediscover, experience and value their folk customs. 

Therefore, only by listening to, seeing with one’s own eyes and experiencing Chinese folk customs can traditional Chinese culture be better integrated into people’s life and passed down.

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