A stunning dragon boat race was held this morning in Suzhou to celebrate this year's Dragon Boat Festival. The race also welcomed 9 foreigners who participated the first "Go Jiangsu" trip this year.
Among the audience, there is a foreigner who's been living in Suzhou for over 20 years – Zekrollah Aflatuni from Finland, who came to Suzhou in 1998 and settled here ever since.
"It goes back ten years when I was in Taihu Lake," Zekrollah said. "I participated the dragon boat race with one of my colleagues in Nokia. We were rowing and had a lot of practicing before the contest. It reminds of the wonderful time. This is an important part of Chinese culture."
Zekrollah Aflatuni is a member of the 1st "Go Jiangsu" trip this year, which brought 9 foreign followers of the Facebook and Twitter account – Jiangsu, China. In the last two days, they have learned how to make Zongzi or sticky rice dumplings, visited a popular market, and witnessed Suzhou's traditions and developments with their own eyes.
Anastasia is a photographer based in Shanghai. This is her second time participating the "Go Jiangsu" trip. Along the way, she was busy live-broadcasting the trip to her fans online.
"I've been sharing this with all my fans because I want my friends to know more about Chinese culture," she said. "I just wish the COVID-19 willend soon, so that more people could come to China and discover its amazingcultures."
Rahul Sen from Indiavisited Suzhou for the first time. In here, he learned how to make sachets.
"This is definitely the first time I made this," he said. "I've seen it, but I've never made it on my own. It is nice to have six different herbs in this sachet."
During the trip, foreign fans also toured the Wang Shi Yuan or Master of Nets Garden at night to watch Suzhou Pingtan, Kunqu Opera and other intangible cultural heritage performances. The immersive and wonderful performances were greeted with applause from the foreign fans. The inheritance of traditional arts by the young generation has moved Peter Stanleigh from Canada, who has been living in Jiangsu for nearly 20 years.
"What I like the best is the youth," said him. "All the performers, except for one 'older' gentleman, were young. This shows that young people are picking up the musical instruments, the singing and the culture from our history."
"This is hundreds of years of history and they are carrying it forward. And Suzhou is doing a great job promoting it," he added.
From April 2018, the Information Office of Jiangsu Provincial People's Government and China Daily have invited more than 80 overseas followers of Facebook and Twitter account "Jiangsu, China" to visit different parts of Jiangsu, and experience a variety of cultural activities. So far, 9 "Go Jiangsu" trips have been held and still many more to come.