Traditions for Lunar New Year such as hanging lanterns, pasting couplets, making dumplings and eating glutinous rice balls are common across China. In Xinjiang, however, in addition to these well-known ways of celebrating the New Year, there are an array of other interesting and original ways to celebrate, for example, celebrating an original New Year with the Tuvas people who inhabit the region.
Hemu Village (PRNewsfoto/Kanas Smart Travel Co., Ltd.)
The 2017-2018 Xinjiang Winter/Spring Series of Tourism Events – Kanas Invites You to Celebrate “The Original New Year” officially kicked off on February 15, this year’s New Year’s Eve in China. The event was hosted by the Kanas Scenic Spot Management Committee and co-organized by Altay Golden Lotus Culture and Tourism Company and Kanas Smart Travel Co., Ltd. After interviewing a number of tourism inspectors, the Kanas Scenic Spot Management Committee selected ten and invited them to spend a few days in Kanas during which they would have the opportunity to experience “The Original New Year”, with all travel and accommodation expenses borne by Kanas Scenic Spot. They “cracked the bones and sucked the marrow” with the Tuvas on New Year’s Eve, joined the Obo New Year’s blessings ceremony, and participated in traditional folk activities that included singing, dancing, horse racing and archery competitions organized by the Tuvas residents of Hemu Village. They spent a few minutes trying their luck with ancient fur skis, sent best wishes for the coming year through the Xinjiang tradition of snow splashing and engaged in the building of a model Tuvas corrugated house.
“The Tuvas celebrate the Chinese New Year in a most original way. This is because their traditions, which they have, generation after generation, strived to maintain in their full integrity, goes back to the ways of welcoming the New Year and the coming spring that date back to prehistoric times. The various traditions are compelling in their very simplicity. A trip to learn more about the lives and festivals of the Tuvas and experience their intangible cultural heritage is something well worth doing,” tourism inspector Long Shao said.
The Tuvas are a part of the population group defined in China as the Mongolian nationality. The majority of China’s Tuvas population live in Aletai prefecture in Xinjiang, with Hemu village as the largest population center, where, every year, over 1,500 Tuvas gather and maintain in all their authenticity the ancient customs in celebration of the New Year. Kanas Scenic Area holds the Kanas Invites You to Celebrate “The Original New Year” event every year, and welcomes visitors from all over the world to greet the arrival of the lunar New Year and join in the prayer for a better life and national unity with the aim of showcasing Kanas Scenic Area’s unique snow- and ice-themed tourist attractions as well as the area’s many cultural artifacts. These efforts have boosted the transformation of the local tourism industry in the winter and spring seasons, as well as build a winter-themed tourism brand for Kanas and the wider Xinjiang region.
Kanas Smart Travel Co., Ltd. manager Xie Jiayan said, “as winter-themed tourism continues to grow, it is important to develop Kanas’ unique winter-themed events. We are now promoting Kanas Scenic Area in some new and original ways. Combined with the tourist attractions that already dot the area, we have an opportunity to draw attention to some of the winter-themed events in Kanas, attract more visitors and promote the branding of the winter-themed tourism in the scenic area.”
In addition to the ice-themed folk experience events, “The Original New Year” celebrations also include road trips along three must-see routes: a trip through the snowfields with stops at Hemu Hotel, the Ancient Villages and the Senior Qu Kai’s home, the ice-themed Searching Wolves route and ice-themed Photography Route, where visitors have an opportunity to experience the original landscape of Kanas by riding in a horse-drawn sled or cross the forest on a snowmobile.
In winter, Kanas is a world of ice and snow. The crystal rime ice-coated birch forest along the Kanas Valley, the grandeur of the snowfields, the snow-covered ice lake and Hemu village where one feels as if they have been reincarnated in a Chinese ink painting, are something not to be missed and, for those who come, are destined to be part and parcel of an unforgettable memory.