A date with intangible cultural heritage

From: Shenzhen Daily | Updated:2023-12-05

Divers forms of traditional Chinese art and cuisine on display at the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Communities culture festival in OH Bay, Bao’an District, last week delighted visitors, including Sunday Jemmimah Glory, a student from Nigeria.

Out of love for Chinese history, culture and philosophy, Glory is studying the Chinese language at Shenzhen University.

“I am very happy to be here. I made friends, ate Chinese food, and had fun. This is a wonderful way to bridge foreigners in China with the locals,” Glory told Shenzhen Daily.

Glory, who has been in Shenzhen for eight years, said it was her first time to experience many authentic Chinese intangible cultural heritage items at the event, one of the highlights of the Shenzhen Intangible Cultural Heritage Week.

Nineteen kinds of intangible cultural heritage items covering food, handicrafts, arts, medicine and dances were presented to hundreds of visitors.

The festival started with the kylin dance, as well as the Shatoujiao fish lantern dance — the city’s first national-level intangible cultural heritage.

While watching the fish lantern dance, Chan, a Hong Kong resident in Shenzhen, said Shenzhen and Hong Kong have similar traditions and culture. He hoped heritage in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area could be well protected and inherited in the future.

Leo Livingston from England was impressed with the kylin dancers’ skills. “I have been in the city for five years. I like the displays and performances from different communities. I feel better after trying the Chinese massage, and I want to learn more through this activity,” he said.

At the JoJo stall, a crowd gathered to appreciate making and tasting Turkish coffee, which was added to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list in 2013.

According to He Shanshan, founder and CEO of Nanshan Southwind Social Work Service Center, the organizer of the event, Shenzhen bears unique historical and cultural imprints of the Lingnan region, which covers Guangdong and Guangxi and parts of Hunan and Jiangxi provinces. Over recent years, Shenzhen has been making greater efforts to promote Chinese culture across the world.

In 2020, Shenzhen was chosen as a pilot city of the national Intangible Cultural Heritage in Communities program. As of September, eight intangible cultural items from Shenzhen had been selected into China’s intangible cultural heritage lists, including the kylin dance, Shatoujiao fish lantern dance, Songgang lion dance, Pingle Guo’s bone setting methods, Jia’s acupuncture point therapy, and Xiasha ancestor worship traditions.