June 8th marks China's third Cultural and Natural Heritage Day. Organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the festival will be held between June 7th and 10th across China, and the national main venue of this year’s event is Guangzhou.
Organised around China’s 40 UNESCO listed cultural heritages, this year’s festival consists of a series of activities, including an opening ceremony, stage performances, an exhibition, and forums.
A stage photo of a Cantonese opera [Photo: Guangdong Cantonese Opera Troupe]
The stage performances will be held at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Convention Center on the evenings of June 7th and 8th, presenting forty of China’s cultural practices and expressions of intangible heritage as now recorded by UNESCO. This is the first time that all 40 inscribed elements will be showcased at the same time. China’s first element Kun Qu opera was inscribed on the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.
The exhibition will be held at the Guangzhou Urban Planning Exhibition Center from June 8th to 10th, featuring photos and videos demonstrating the 40 elements. You can make an appointment to visit the exhibition via the Center’s official WeChat account “廣州市城市規劃展覽中心” or call 020-83520680.
Cultural heritage themed forums will also take place at the Center on June 8th and be attended by experts and scholars from Tsinghua University, the Chinese National Academy of Arts and Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. They will discuss the concepts, practice and experience related to heritage protection in China.
Guangzhou in particular will hold a series of activities to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Cantonese opera being inscribed on UNESCO list, to mark the Dragon Boat Festival, and to allow people to get involved. All activities will be open to the public for free.
There will be an accompanying publication which includes special reports, expert interviews, and information regarding events and exhibitions on the theme of cultural heritage.
A screenshot of “Feifei” and “Xingxing”. [Photo: Guangdong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism]
The mascots, which have been designed for the event, are named “Feifei” and “Xingxing”. Inspired by the Lion Dance, two animated lions have been designed to cultivate the younger generation’s enthusiasm for maintaining cultural heritage. During the event, “Feifei” and “Xingxing” will interact the audience in the exhibition and performance sections.
The event will also feature a special souvenir ticket is a traditional Cantonese paper cut.
Finally the event will feature an inspiring theme song, which will be played For the first time at the end of stage performance.
About the Cultural and Natural Heritage Day
The Cultural and Natural Heritage Day, whose name was changed in 2016 by the State Council from the former Cultural Heritage Day, is held on the second Saturday of every June. It is a collective showcase of achievements on intangible cultural heritage protection.
China now has 40 inscribed elements in total on relevant UNESCO lists, including 32 elements inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, 7 elements inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, and one program selected to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.
Authors: Monica Liu, Li Jiaxing
Editor: Simon Haywood