Here comes the Year of the Rabbit: the symbol of prosperity and happiness. On the afternoon of January 28, 2023, the Place d’Armes in the center of Namur, the capital city of Wallonia, Belgium, was filled with a cheerful Chinese New Year atmosphere. The “Rabbit Chasing Pavilion”, organized by the China Cultural Center in Brussels, was presented at the Chinese Spring Festival Fair and was warmly welcomed by the local residents.
On the day of the Fair, the China Cultural Center in Brussels’ “Rabbit Chasing Pavilion” was crowded with people and heated by enthusiastic minds. The “Happy Chinese New Year of the Rabbit – Exhibition of Selected Artworks of Belgium Zodiac Design & Creative Contest”, “Digital Booth – A Cloud Tour of Chinese New Year”, “Bringing the Chinese New Year Home – Interactive Photo Booth”, “Find out Your Zodiac Sign” and a series of interactive activities around Chinese zodiac culture and Chinese New Year brought a festive and joyous ambiance to the site, conveying to the local people the essence of the Chinese New Year, namely harmony, happiness and prosperity.
Jacques, a resident of Namur, was excited to explore the activities in the Pavilion with his family and said, “In Belgian and most European cultures, rabbits are springtime animals, symbolic of fruitfulness and renewal. I was surprised that this resonates deeply with the Chinese zodiac culture. My children and I especially enjoyed today’s zodiac poster exhibition, it is full of creativity, and I believe it was created with people’s sincere wishes for the New Year of 2023.”
On this Chinese Spring Festival Fair, nearly 30 selected works from the 2023 Belgium Zodiac Design & Creative Contest went out of the China Cultural Center exhibition hall and traveled into Namur. Through the “Zodiac Pillar” art installation, a number of lively, innovative, and creative zodiac works, collected and created locally, were under the spotlight, demonstrating the broad interest and diversified understanding of Chinese zodiac culture among the participants in Belgium and Europe.
The Pavilion featured a digital booth inviting audiences for a virtual tour around China through the screening of a series of short videos and mini-documentaries selected and produced by a number of cultural institutions including IP SHANGHAI, China Cultural Center in Brussels, Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Center in Shanghai, the Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Center in Shanghai, the Information Office of Beijing Municipality, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism, etc.
Through a short video of New Year’s greetings, the China Cultural Center in Brussels delivered its best wishes to visitors, inviting them to come and experience a wide range of activities at the Center in Brussels in the future.
The Bringing the Chinese New Year Home – Interactive Photos Booth was one of the busiest spots across the whole Fair. Visitors took pictures with the background of the iconic Chinese attraction and the rabbit figure. Caroline, a Belgian university student, shared with the team: “I always thought China was far away, but I never thought I could experience it right at my doorstep, it’s so cool! I just posted the photo on social media and immediately received many comments and likes. I really hope I can visit China in person next time!”
Visitors gathered in front of the “Zodiac Pillar” to search for their zodiac sign in the Chronology Table, with volunteers explaining the cultural connotations of the signs. Several local children, with the help of their parents, found the Chinese zodiac signs for their whole family. “My daughter was so excited and couldn’t wait to call her grandparents and tell them about her new discovery. The Chinese zodiac culture is very interesting for children, and I am happy that she had a fun time here. I hope she will take this opportunity to learn more about China”, said Sophie, a visiting guest.
The “Rabbit Chasing Pavilion” also attracted several local Belgian influencers to visit and take part in the Chinese zodiac activities. This event brought together many online visitors through videos, photos and live stream broadcasts, attracting more people to learn about China and share the joy of the festive season.
More than 3000 visitors visited the “Rabbit Chasing Pavilion” of the Chinese Spring Festival Fair in Namur, providing the local public with a joyful and creative experience. The China Cultural Center in Brussels was happy to join the local life. A series of Chinese New Year activities themed on the Chinese zodiac culture contributed to the deepening of the locals’ understanding and resonance of traditional Chinese culture and brought closer the people of both countries.