Giant steps towards cultural fusion

The theme of our Chinese New Year Festival was cultural fusion and collaboration. This year we worked closely with the Ulster Scots Agency and Ulster Scots Community Network to introduce our different traditions and culture to each others communities.

The fusion of food, folk music and family fun has become a template for our explorations with other local communities and their cultures. Linked by a love of language we enjoyed learning and living together. The Festival was giant in many ways from the support from our own local Belfast Giants to the giant ‘Drum Off’ between the Lion Dance Drums and the local Lambeg Drums.

Why not relive some of the highpoint of the Festival and learn more as we share and explore.

Giant start to Chinese New Year

This year we were delighted to be contacted by the Stena Line Belfast Giants who wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year with us. The home game against the Cardiff Devils on Sunday 4 February 2024, was the perfect opportunity and saw players wear a specially designed kit to celebrate the occasion.

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Gala dinner

The official launch of this years Chinese New Year took place at a Gala Dinner in the Europa Hotel, Belfast. A capacity crowd were entertained to an incredible programme of music and dance.  Guests were piped in and dignitaries included the Consul General Madame Zhang Meifang and Lord Mayor of Belfast.

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Food fusion

The fusion theme of the New Year festival was literally demonstrated by Bonny Cooper in a cookery exhibition event- the Potato Festival. The event which explored the shared love of food focused on the humble potato and how it has become a staple of diets of communities here’s and in particular northern China.

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Cultural connections

The Chinese community were kindly hosted by the Ulster Scots Community Network in the impressive Discover Ulster Scots Centre. The event brought both communities together to learn about each other and explore each other’s culture and traditions. The event included a tour of the Centre, a talk on the origins and heritage of the Ulster Scots community in Northern Ireland.

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Clash of drums

In perhaps the most noisy cultural exchange ever seen in Belfast drummers from the Lion dance and Lambeg traditions met for a ‘drum in’. This cultural fusion was a first and gave expert drummers from these different traditions an opportunity to learn from one another and play together.

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Exhibition launch

We have worked with the Ulster Scots Agency to explore the connections between Ulster and China. Our journey of discovery took us back centuries and showed just how important and positive the impact that people from here made in China. An exhibition was designed to fit with the existing permanent display in the Discover Ulster Scots  Centre.

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View the exhibition

A fusion of two cultures at its very best. See how we brought the Chinese and Ulster Scots cultures together through dance and music.

Take a look

Chinese Ceilidh

A Hullie or Ceilidh is an Ulster Scots “knees up” and this year we added a little Chinese flavour to this night of dance and music. To introduce everyone to the dances and keep them in step a professional ‘caller’ was on hand and great
live music to make sure everyone was on their feet!

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Now you’re talking

In our attempts to explore the language as a link, our own William Olphert who is a native Ulster Scots speaker enjoyed an afternoons crack with Anne Blair. They explored the links language can create and how it is important to all communities here.

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Festival finale

The finale of the festival was a multicultural arts event at the Chinese Resource Centre. The  CNY US Fusion Festival 2024- finished on a high note with a rich mix of music, dance and entertainment featuring
Willie Drennan and friends , Andy Mc Gregor and performances from our own Chinese community.

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