This is the fifth year that Qatar Museums sponsors a cultural exchange program with other countries. For a whole year various activities, exhibits and programs are held to promote cultural awareness, appreciation and camaraderie between Qatar and its guest country. Last year featured the rich Turkish culture and it somehow brought me back to my trips to the country.
This year’s 4-day Chinese Festival showcases the ancient and rich culture of the province of Zhejiang. All activities in the program are equally interesting and worth spending the day-off for.
From afar, you will already notice the red Chinese gate that welcomes the festival’s visitors, which perks up the excitement more.
China/Qatar Museums seems to have planned and invested well on this event. At the entrance, a souvenir program and a souvenir wristband was provided by the hosts. There is also a site map showing where the activities will be, and a photo-exhibit which seems to be a signature of the Year of Culture festivals.
We started our stroll at the Bazaar Area where various Chinese arts and crafts are showcasing demonstrations and of course have items for sale. Watching the crafts was awesome, the artists were very talented and focused on their works. Let’s have a look at the exhibits.
This guy is a rice sculptor. These are samples of his works on display. There were several food sculptures on display that looked as though they were the real thing. Look at the apples! I could have grabbed one for a bite 😀
The next booth showcases Pujiang’s Paper-cutting handicraft though there was no demonstration happening at that time. The exhibits were interesting and very intricate, I wonder if Chinese fashion really infuses this art in their designs.
It is believed that kites originated from China, and it is but fitting that a booth is dedicated to this art/toy. There were various kite designs on display and some were for sale. It would be a perfect place to buy and immediately play with it outside in MIA Park.
Other notable Chinese arts on exhibit are puppets and ceramic ware. In the evening there would be a shadow puppet play in the Entertainment Zone.
But my favorite among them are the Xiashi Colored Lanterns. Coming back to the booth at nighttime allowed the beauty of the exhibits to “glow in the dark”. They would have been nice to bring home, but even the small battery-operated lanterns are pricey (according to my standard hehe)…
MIA Park has been transformed into a mini-Chinese themed park and everyone enjoyed taking selfies with them. The Workshop Area was a hit, with activities specifically prepared for kids. Oh, how I wished I was still young. The children were taught to make simple Chinese crafts by the artisans themselves. My favorite was this!
In the evenings, a program of Chinese music and dances followed. I observed that the show was more heavily attended than last year’s. We were towards the back of the audience. And it was no wonder why. The Chinese dances were eye candy in the costumes worn by the dancers and the music was contagious.
The organizers have done a better job this year in promoting Chinese Culture here in Qatar. Throughout the year, there has been other cultural events but this seems to be the highlight summary of it all. The Chinese didn’t leave tables unturned in making sure to attract tourism from the Middle East by giving us a taste to what to expect in China, culture-wise.
So will it be China for your next travel destination?