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Plum Blossoms, Folk Shows at Century Park
Century Park in Pudong is to be the venue of shows, festivities and exhibitions to celebrate the 2003 Spring Festival.

The 2nd Plum Blossom Exhibition has already opened in the park and runs from January 27 to February 28.

Plum blossom, one of China's top-10 flowers, enjoys a fond reputation among the Chinese people for its quiet colouring, simple but elegant pattern and its light fragrance.

The blossom, with pine and bamboo, is one of the "three durable plants of winter". Each year local people by tradition go to view plum blossoms in early spring.

More than 1,500 miniature plum blossom trees from Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and northern China regions are on display during the exhibition. The massed blossoms, in varying colours and shapes, provide a dramatic display for visitors to the park.

One bloom worth seeing is the rarely-seen species, "Plum in Second Blossom", which is on display in Shanghai for the first time. The blossom has two colourings, one for winter and another for spring.

Century Park is also the site for a variety of folk art activities to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Representatives of many of China's more than 50 nationalities will display their own unique customs. The Spring Festival offers them the ideal opportunity to show locals how, in their traditions, they pray for happiness and prosperity in the new year.

More than 100 folk artists from seven cities will put on authentic regional performances during the first week of the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 1-7 this year.

Dixi (ground opera), originating in Southwest China's Guizhou Province, gets its name because the actors perform on the ground instead of on a stage.

The opera stories are mainly taken from ancient legends of warfare. Wooden masks with colourful designs, hamlets and ear decorations are the main props used in Dixi, which has been described as a "living opera fossil" or "museum of opera history" by European artists.

The large variety of traditional folk activities on show for the next four weeks in Century Park also includes stilt-walking, lion dancing, and "peace drum beating" from Lanzhou and "swinging in the sky" from Shanxi and Gansu.

(Shanghai Star January 31, 2003)

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