More than 600 people flocked to Worcester for Chinese New Year celebrations at the Museum on Sunday 29 January in the largest community event of its kind in 25 years.
Visitors of all ages came from across the county and beyond to encounter a flavour of Chinese culture. They enjoyed a whole host of hands-on activities ranging from calligraphy, bubble painting, poetry and a traditional gongfu tea ceremony to ‘keepy uppy’, a Chinese shuttlecock game and getting friendly with PomPom the giant panda. Everyone was delighted by the traditional lion dance performed by the Kwei de Tang troupe who brought the event alive with drama and drumming.
“This has just been an absolutely lovely day,” said Hannah Cooper, who lives locally. “We went home briefly for lunch but came back” Another delighted Mum said, “we are so keenfor our children to be more globally aware and this has been such a wonderful event to enable this”
The event was possible thanks to funding from West Midlands Museum Development with two venues providing the combined space for the event; musical entertainment and kung fu workshops took place in the Henry Sandon Hall and Chinese arts and crafts in the Museum of Royal Worcester. Hundreds of people flocked inside from the moment the doors opened and many enjoyed the delights of the museum’s porcelain collection – and its original inspiration from China – for the first time.
Sophie Heath, Director of the Museum of Royal Worcester, said
“It was so wonderful to see so many people discovering the links between Worcester and China’s tea culture and porcelain heritage. I was delighted to see so many people enjoying getting creative with crafts and painting rabbits in our Paint-Your-Own-Pottery studio”.
Students learning mandarin at Christopher Whitehead Language College in Worcester were involved in delivering some of the activities and enjoyed running a chopsticks challenge game and teaching visitors how to make origami rabbits. Engage with China, an educational charity that builds China literacy in UK schools and was one of the event organising partners, delivered two traditional tea ceremonies involving over 60 people and making lucky red envelopes featuring the Chinese character for the word ‘tea.’
Worcester is twinned with the city of Hezhou in Guangxi province in China thanks to the introduction and involvement of Frankie Tsang, Chairman of the Worcestershire Chinese Association. Warm new year greetings “from the of 4.1million inhabitants of Hezhou,” were sent by letter by the Mayor of Hezhou City and read out by Worcester’s City Mayor, Adrian Gregson. Frankie Tsang said:
“this event is about sharing Chinese culture with ourcommunity and celebrating our diversity. I am so pleased that so many hundreds of peoplewere able to enjoy it today.”
2023 is the Year of the Rabbit which is the fourth animal in the Chinese 12-year zodiac cycle. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are said to be entrepreneurs, kind and peaceful. Other VIPs who attended included Andrew Manning-Cox, High Sheriff of Worcestershire and Lord Faulkner of Worcester.
If you missed the event, you can still Paint a Year of the Rabbit figurine with a Paint Your Own Pottery kit at home, or you can book a session in the museum’s ceramic studio, open Thursdays to Sundays.