As subtle traces of spring announce themselves in the breeze, the Chinese celebrate their Lunar New Year across the globe, embracing the future and reflecting about the past.
In similar spirit, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China celebrated the spring festival with its friends in Pakistan in collaboration with the Pakistan National Council of the Arts, inviting Islamabad to experience the buoyancy and extravagance of the Chinese ritual.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chinese Ambassador Liu Jian shared the successes of the previous lunar year that had distinguished itself not only with stability and development within China but also with “steady progress in China’s friendship with Pakistan”.
Amid hand-acrobatics, resonating vocals and kung fu demonstrations, the indisputable show-stealers were the young bright-eyed students from Roots, Headstart and City schools, whose costumes, confidence and talents kept a spilling audience rooted to its seats until the final bow.
A trilingual choir of smiling boys and girls swayed side to side, wishing the audience a happy new year in English, Urdu and Chinese, with fellow students mouthing the words from the crowd. The following act was an energetic bhangra in true Punjabi spirit clad in vivid costumes and emotive expressions. Exuding poise, young ladies in flowing pink gowns floated around the stage in a spring ballet.
A cross-cultural fashion show had parents and attendees excitedly filming and photographing the parading young men and women in ingeniously designed traditional Chinese and Pakistani attire. The most magnetic of performances however was the final skit, a musical drama about the Karakoram Highway, illustrating one of the greatest benefits of the Pak-China friendship.
Young glittery fairies sat across borders as diplomats from either side extended a hand of friendship and collaboration over the construction of the silk route. The ensuing celebrations included young women in traditional Chinese attire and make-up, gracefully moving across the stage while fanning their faces, turning around to reveal their backsides masked and clad in a Punjabi getup to the delight of a stunned audience. The Chinese believe in the symbolism of animals, naming each year accordingly; 2013 is the year of the snake.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2013.