Guangzhou welcomes the world for Chinese New Year

-- Discover Cantonese Spring Festival, Enjoy Family Reunion Moments

Feb 08, 2016, 10:41 ET from Cantonese Spring Festival

GUANGZHOU, China, Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- On February 8, 1.8 billion Chinese from all around the world celebrated Chinese Lunar New Year, welcoming the arrival of the Monkey Year. Guangzhou (Canton), a cultural city located in Southern China that has uniquely charming Cantonese heritage and modern urban living, hosts a tour themed "Discover Cantonese Spring Festival, Enjoy Family Reunion Moments". 20 families from cities home and abroad were invited to join the city's cultural celebration. The tourists experienced Chinese New Year along with local families, such as visiting the Festive Blooms Market, having a new year eve meal, and enjoying the view of the Pearl River in a fabulous parade of boats and lighting show of Canton Tower.

As a living-cultural-heritage since the 1860's, Guangzhou hosts grand festivals which last for 3 weeks across this Lunar New Year. 20 families were invited by the Mayor of Guangzhou to visit the city and join local families celebrating Chinese New Year in traditional Cantonese way. The Bennetts are one of the 20 families. Patrick Bennett, an advertising professional, who was born and raised in the Virgin Islands, with a lifetime of traveling around the world. He described this journey as "extraordinary and unforgettable".

On Chinese New Year Eve, the Bennetts along with other families, visited the Festive Blooms Market, one of biggest in the world, where dozens of shops sell luck-bringing blossoms, houseplants, food and decorations. "It's not just a market. It is more like a huge carnival!" The Bennetts felt excited about writing Spring Festival couplets in Chinese calligraphy, and obsessed with playing with a mini Dancing Lion. "It is so great to visit the hometown of Dancing Lions. This Festive Blooms Market is really an eye-opener. Impressive!"

For the Bennetts who admire authentic experiences and cherish family life, what they had longed for most was to cook dinner on Chinese New Year Eve by themselves. With Mrs. Wu's help from the host family, the Bennetts tried to cook spoiled shrimp and steamed fish in Cantonese way. Patrick updated a post in his social app, "You know you're doing a good job when a boy born in the United States is presented with a traditional Cantonese new year meal" -- attaching a picture quoting his son, "I want to eat the chicken head!"

On the first day in this Year of the Monkey, the Bennetts arrived at the Observation Deck of Canton Tower, where visitors can have a bird-eye view of the bustling metropolis at 433 meters. Patrick said, "Guangzhou is truly a magical place where you can spend a lot more time than you think. You must go into the heart of the city to unveil her beauty, and shouldn't leave this city without having a look down on it from way up above."

In another visit to Huacheng Square, the Bennetts noticed there were locals lining up to take family portraits in a booth hosted by China UnionPay. "Taking a family portrait is a record of this happy family reunion that symbolized all the best wishes to every member of the family." The Bennetts couldn't wait to frame their wonderful memories in Guangzhou and best intentions for the Year of the Monkey. "I am deeply touched by the passion Guangzhou people have in celebrating the Spring Festival. It shows how much they cherish their traditions and how much they enjoy reuniting with their family and friends." Patrick concluded his journey with a smile.  

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SOURCE Cantonese Spring Festival