Ring in the New Year

(shanghai daily)
Updated: 2006-12-29 09:10

There are New Year's gala countdowns at Xintiandi and Century Plaza and on New Year's Day you can ring the ancient bronze bell at Longhua Temple or wish on a propitious red-ribbon tree, write Xu Wei and Tan Xian.

Countdown clocks tick down for 2007, and for people all over the world to say "Happy New Year." On Sunday the New Year's Eve countdown galas in Shanghai will kick the new year off to a fabulous start.

At the fashion hub Xintiandi, its traditional New Year's Eve Countdown Party has become a signature event among locals and expats.

The party will be held on a raised platform at the center of Xintiandi's man-made Taipingqiao Lake, themed on the white magnolia, the city flower.

The dazzling stage resembles outspread petals and three-dimensional white magnolias float on the shimmering water.

This year, the famous tap dance group from Japan, "The STRiPES," will present the first of the night's programs. The dynamic STRiPES will reinterpret traditional Broadway-style tap dance.

Young icons Wang Xiaokun, champion of this year's star-making TV program "My Style, My Show," and last year's Super Girl runner-up Zhou Bichang will be invited to perform their latest songs. Chinese-American pop singer Wang Lee-hom will present his charming tunes and usher in the new year.

To pay tribute to the 2007 Special Olympic Games, from next year's October 2 to 11, hosting more than 7,000 athletes from 164 countries and regions, Shanghai's Dragon TV will present a five-hour live broadcast in a charity countdown gala titled "Cheer for the Special Olympics."

The gala will be held at Dragon TV's studio and the Century Plaza of Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall. Hong Kong actress Christy Chung, actor Law Ka-ying, singer Kelly Chen and the winners of this year's TV hit show "Cheer Up, Good Man" will entertain with song and dance.

The event's public donations and short message proceeds will go to the organizing committee of the Special Olympics.

Celebrating the 2007 solar New Year in a 1,790-year-old temple may be another good choice for you. There are traditional Chinese and Buddhist activities, such as Longhua Bell Tolling, propitious tree vowing and lantern riddle games, among others.

For Chinese people, bell tolling and propitious tree vowing are the two most popular events to welcome a new year.

The 3,000-kilogram bronze bell at Longhua tolls 108 times every year, according to tradition. Lead by a Buddhist master, anyone can strike one of the 108 times.

But why 108 times? In Buddhism, 108 traditionally represents the number of all worries and cares. In Chinese solar terms, 108 represents the whole year. Tradition has it that after striking the bell 108 times, all unhappiness will disappear to welcome the New Year.

Propitious trees, with red ribbons hanging on all the branches, are supposed to realize the wishes that people make. After someone writes their wish on a red ribbon, he or she must toss it into the tree's branches. If the ribbon hangs on the tree, the wish will come true, but if it falls to the ground, the dream will not be realized.

Xintiandi Countdown Party
Date: December 31, 9:30pm-12:30am
Venue: Xintiandi Taipingqiao Lake, at the crossroad of Hubin Rd and Huangpi Rd S.
Tel: 021-6386-1818

Charity gala "Cheer For the Special Olympics"
Date: December 31, 7:30pm-12:30am
Venue: Century Plaza of Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall
Tel: 021-5881-2000, 6256-5899

Longhua Bell Tolling
Date: December 31, midnight
Tickets: 318 yuan for once
Tel: 021-962-288


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