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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Behind the most-watched program in the world

January 21, 2020 GMT

BEIJING, Jan. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by China.org.cn on China’s Spring Festival Gala, or Chunwan:

A time span up to 5 hours, over 1, 500 performers, and more than a billion audience, all these records are set by one single event – China’s Spring Festival Gala, or locally known as “Chunwan”.

The first Chunwan was aired on the eve of the Lunar New Year in 1983, and the gala has since become an annual must-see variety show for Chinese families. Every year, the Chinese people keep their hundred-year-old traditions to dress in new clothes, put up Spring Festival couplets, set fireworks and eat dumplings to celebrate the Lunar New Year, their most important festival. Watching Chunwan is the newest addition to the traditions. The gala, which consists of singing, crosstalk skits, stand-up comedies, acrobatics, choreography, martial arts and magic shows while interacting with the audience in the event, has kept its rituals over the years.

Though without many changes in its form, Chunwan is closely connected with the society and people’s everyday life. Comedies recalling the time of sorghum buns and food coupons reflect the improved living standards; and the satirical skits concerning defrauding and corruption, in a way echoes with the reality. From “I’ve missed you to death” to “what the bike you want?”, each year, some witty lines would become people’s pet phrases. With time passing by, these lines have become the classic memories of the Chinese, still vividly representing those happy moments.

On the eve of Chinese Lunar New Year, a whole family sit together, making dumplings while watching Chunwan. This typical scene reflects the “family culture” imprinted in the Spring Festival, and represents the deepest emotional bonds of all the Chinese people. Many overseas Chinese, despite the time difference, would sit through Chunwan in front of the TV until the last and very classic song “Unforgettable Tonight” ends.

The gala also upgrades with time, integrating the traditional and the modern, the classic and the new. More youngsters, idols and grass-root performers are getting on the stage of Chunwan. Hi-tech also characterizes the gala in recent years, with VR Fu character scanning for online red packets becoming people’s new activities. This year’s Chunwan will feature 5G+4K+8K+AR, and will collaborate with e-commerce and short-video platforms, intending to present a more immersive and inclusive gala.

China is not original for such galas celebrating a new year. The Royal Variety Performance of the U.K., and NHK’s Red & White Year-end Song Festival in Japan are of similar essence, but with even longer history. However, these events are facing growing challenges in recent years compared to Chunwan’s popularity. After 38 years, Chunwan is less an entertainment event but more of a cultural symbol, epitomizing the emotional resonance as well as the pragmatic and creative spirits of the Chinese nation.

China Mosaic

Behind the most-watched program in the world

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SOURCE China.org.cn