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The fascinating culture and charms of Zhejiang

THE Zhejiang Week at World Expo starts tomorrow, promising a plethora of performances and exhibits. Everything from opera and dances to demonstrations of folk arts will take place over the next five days, Li Anlan reports.

The Zhejiang Week during World Expo 2010 Shanghai will be celebrated from tomorrow to next Tuesday. A series of galas, exhibitions and parades will be presented to show the cultural characteristics of Zhejiang.

The opening ceremony of Zhejiang Week at Expo Shanghai is scheduled at 10am tomorrow.

Every day through next Tuesday, there will be gala performances named "Winds of Zhejiang" at 1pm, 3pm and 6pm (it will be 1pm, 3pm and 5pm on Tuesday). The gala combines music, opera, dance and acrobatics to celebrate Hemudu culture, the province's ancient roots. It also celebrates the future of Zhejiang. The gala highlights Zhejiang's culture and history along with the modern trends in the province.

Everyday, there will also be three shows of "Melody of Yue-style Celadon" - a special performance of music in celebration of Yue kilns and celadon - at 11am, 2:30pm and 7pm. The music will be played on pottery musical instruments and pottery devices. The music portrays the regional charms of Zhejiang.

An exhibition of traditional arts and crafts will open to the public during Zhejiang Week. The exhibition will display the best of the province's intangible cultural heritage. Masters and folk artists will attend the event.

"Spring All Over Zhejiang" will also be presented each day during the five days at 3:15pm and 6pm. Eighteen teams of folk artists across Zhejiang will stage a combined performance. The gala is composed of three major chapters: the rhythm of the drum, the passion of the lantern and the soul of the dragon. Major attractions include Haining Palace Lantern, Qingtian Fish Lantern, Xiaoran Lantern and Drum, Lin'an Water Dragon, Lotus Dragon Dance and 18 Butterflies Dance.

In recent years Zhejiang has focused on promoting its culture. The Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture has built museums, theaters, libraries and cultural centers. Now there are 96 public libraries, 242 museums, 1,613 cultural centers and about 300 cultural squares and centers in the province.

Zhejiang Art Museum is 35,000 square meters and has 14 exhibition rooms. It's the largest and most modern art museum in China.

Zhejiang is a pilot province in the national cultural information and resource sharing project. Through the end of last year, 44,983 basic service stations have been built, covering 100 percent of counties and 98.5 percent of villages in the province.

As of last year, the province's 96 public libraries had 35.5 million books, issued 1.39 million library cards and opened 4,415 digital reading room terminals.

Zhejiang also encourages and supports the production of major artistic shows. The province has won numerous awards at national and international competitions.

Yueju Opera "Lu You and Tang Wan" won the silver Tai Yang Shen award at the 2nd International Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival hosted by the Ministry of Culture and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan Province.

The children's play "Guoguo's Wizard of Oz" by Zhejiang Modern Drama Troupe won an excellent award at the 6th National Excellent Children's Play Exhibition hosted by the Ministry of Culture.

Acrobatic show "Yun Ding Luo Han" by the Zhejiang Folk Art and Acrobatics Troupe won the gold award at the 4th International Circus Festival in Russia. The troupe also holds a Guinness world record.

Zhejiang Province has 129 items on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage list to rank No. 1 in the country. Zhejiang also focuses on cultural exchange programs with Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.


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