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February 11, 2010

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Festivities galore in store

CHINESE people believe Spring Festival signifies a good beginning of the Lunar New Year. They will pray for good fortune and health, and won't miss any opportunities for family reunion, fun, romance and special cultural events.

The Lunar New Year begins Sunday, also Valentine's Day. The city has a lot to offer during this holiday season.

The fashion hub Xintiandi is decorated with gold foil-wrapped shikumen (stone gate) houses glittering in the sun, giant red windmills and the Expo mascot Haibao - he's sporting a Tang suit, with a firecracker in one hand and a lantern in the other.

Shops and lanes are brimming with festive atmosphere. A 6-meter-tall red windmill stands in the South Block Plaza and its rotating vanes bring the winds of good fortune. Visitors put their New Year's wishes in the heart-shaped wish boxes hanging from the vanes. Four boxes represent the traditional Chinese wishes for fortune, prosperity, longevity and happiness, while eight represent gifts for loved ones.

To present traditional Chinese arts, performances of acrobatics and martial arts will be staged next to the windmill during the first three days of the New Year. Dragon and lion dance troupes will perform throughout Xintiandi and interact with visitors.

Shanghai Times Square is celebrating both with Chinese tradition and Western style. The mall's New Year's decoration is inspired by traditional Chinese paper-cutting art. Two huge columns before the front doors are covered with classic paper-cut patterns such as "blooms of wealth" and "pair of jade butterflies" in pure red.

The mall is featuring "The Heart of Portugal" filigree arts exhibition and Italian Design Candles Exhibition.

The Italian brand "Pernici" is a leader in producing luxury candles for more than a century and has brought romance to Valentine's Day. Portuguese craftsmen are proud of their skill in fashioning threads of silver and gold in some of the most delicate filigree work in the world.

Once again, the Bulgarian Rose Product Exhibition will also be held. Known as the country of roses, Bulgaria has some of the largest rose gardens in the world and 330 years of Rose Otto oil history. The exhibition will bring romantic scent of roses to this Valentine's Day.

"We will combine Eastern culture with Western culture during the holiday season," says Cathy Hau, deputy general manager of Shanghai Times Square. "As the Year of the Tiger, a symbol of strength, 2010 must promise a better future after the difficulties of the past year."

Special sculpture by Japanese and Chinese artists is exhibited at Shanghai Sculpture Park near the Sheshan Hill in Songjiang District.

"A Gatherer of Light" features works by Japanese sculptor Minami Tada, who became famous in the 1960s. She won the grand prize at the first Henry Moore Grand Prize Exhibition in the Hakone Open-air Museum and has exhibited at numerous open-air venues.

This is her first solo exhibition in China, featuring her early bronze works and new sculptures. She combines diverse materials such as stainless steel, acrylic, glass, ceramics and titanium.

Chinese sculptor Zhou Boshu is exhibiting his latest and very large work, 12 mirrors embedded in a stainless steel panel. The surface of the mirrors undulates with a pattern of concentric circles like gently expanding ripples, mysteriously distorting the reflection of the surrounding landscape.

The image of a person walking in front of the mirrors vibrates uncannily. The sculpture is a device that is synchronized with the environment and responds to it.

Valentine's fun

Tomorrow Grand Gateway Plaza in Xujiahui will throw a pre-Valentine's Day party. In collaboration with FM station 101.7, it invites singles to gather at the shopping complex's Lan Gui Fang food street. There a live Cupid, with bow and arrow, will match them.

Visitors looking for love also can join the live FM 101.7 programs for those seeking sweethearts.

Jinqiao Life Hub in Pudong has set up a "Wishing Wall" where customers who spend more than 200 yuan (US$29) in the new shopping complex will get a "wishing cube." They write their wishes to their loved ones and place the cubes on evergreen trees.

For each cube received, Jinqiao Life Hub will donate 10 yuan to Green Life, a non-profit organization that plants trees in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

From Saturday through the end of the month, professional lantern makers will teach customers how to make their own lanterns, including heart-shaped lanterns.
From Sunday through Tuesday, the first three days of the Year of the Tiger, traditional lion dances and drum and gong performances will be staged at 11am in the garden plaza of the shopping complex.

Daning Life Hub in Zhabei District also features holiday events. On next Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, it will feature traditional acrobatics and "face-lift" performances. Events include French can-can and jazz performances as well as local farce in Shanghai dialect by famous Shanghainese comedians.

On February 18, the fifth day of the New Year when the God of Wealth arrives, a real deity in gold costume will walk around, giving out red packages and candies.

Xintiandi celebration
Date: through February 28
Venue: Xintiandi, 181 Taicang Rd
Tel: 6386-1818

Portugal, Italy arts exhibition
Date: through February 20, 10am-10pm
Venue: Shanghai Times Square, 99 Huaihai Rd M.
Admission: free
Tel: 6391-0691

Sculpture show of Minami Tada
Date: through April 18, 9am-4:30pm
Venue: Shanghai Sculpture Park, 1158 Linyinxin Rd
Tickets: 120 yuan for adults; 50 yuan for children
Tel: 5779-8090

Grand Gateway Plaza
Address: 1 Hongqiao Rd
Tel: 6407-0115

Daning Life Hub
Address: 1868 Gonghexin Rd
Tel: 5677-1888

Jinqiao Life Hub
Address: 3611 Zhangyang Rd, Pudong
Tel: 2023-3000


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