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China & Jamaica both enjoy a festive February

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨CCTV.com

02-22-2018 14:37 BJT

By Vicki Cann, PhD Candidate at Communication University of China

February 2018 is a special month for the Chinese and Jamaicans. The Chinese new lunar calendar typically begins in February. 

The Chinese New Year typically conjures up images of red envelopes, fireworks, new clothes, traditional food and plenty of time to spend with family. But what does the Chinese New Year mean for foreigners and especially Jamaicans?

With over 150 years marking the arrival of the first Chinese nationals to our wonderful nation, Chinese New Year celebrations have become part and parcel of the national fabric. Several noteworthy individuals have shared aspects of their childhood growing up as Chinese Jamaicans. Having been awarded numerous awards by the Jamaican Government, Easton Lee is one such person.  

Growing up in rural Jamaica in the 1950s and 1960s, on his blog, Lee recalls several Chinese traditions that were observed in his household beginning a week before the new year began. This included reuniting with distant family members, cleaning the house, buying new clothes, setting off fire crackers, and preparing a grand feast on New Year’s Eve inclusive of a whole fish and citrus fruits. No Spring Festival would be complete without “lucky money,” or “Hongbaos,” or what the Chinese Hakka group to which Lee’s father was from, referred to as “Fungbao.” Lee also recalls that on New Year’s Day tribute was paid to one’s ancestors through the offering of gifts, food, candles and incense. 

Chinese traditions have had a lasting impact on Jamaican society, which adheres to our country’s national motto, “Out of Many One People.” Through the generosity of the Chinese government, hundreds of young Jamaicans have had the opportunity to travel and experience different aspects of Chinese culture, including genuine hospitality extended to all foreigners!

Bob Marley Day in Beijing

Meanwhile, February is so special for Jamaicans, since it marks the 37th anniversary of the death of reggae icon Bob Marley. 

A senior member of the Jamaican Embassy to the People’s Republic of China, Minister Counsellor Cherett Campbell was on hand to launch “Bob Marley Day 2018” held in Beijing on February 10. 

Cherett Campbell (center), Minister Counsellor at the Jamaican Embassy to the People’s Republic of China, shares lens time with the lead female and male vocalists of the One Drop Band, Zhang Zichen from Hebei Province and Johnson Lufungulo from Zambia.  Photo provided by Vicki Cann

Cherett Campbell (center), Minister Counsellor at the Jamaican Embassy to the People’s Republic of China, shares lens time with the lead female and male vocalists of the One Drop Band, Zhang Zichen from Hebei Province and Johnson Lufungulo from Zambia. Photo provided by Vicki Cann

“Bob Marley epitomized the Jamaican axiom – We likkle but we tallawah. This earned Bob Marely a place in Jamaica’s history and culture as one of the most endearing and enduring cultural and musical icons. His worldview and music remain lyrical, poetic, rhapsodic even,” said Campbell. 

His eternal lyrics and worldview transcends both time and geographical boundaries, earning him Time Magazine’s 2000 Album of the Century with an all-time favorite entitled Exodus. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) also dubbed Marley’s One Love as the song of the century. Although the accolades came years after his death, before even setting foot on the African continent, Marley was awarded the United Nations Peace Medal of the Third World in 1978 for his role as a lyrical freedom fighter for peace, reconciliation, tolerance and equal rights for all. 

Having been the brainchild of Ultimate Productions, Bob Marely’s legacy has been celebrated in Beijing for the past 18 years. They have collaborated with DB Brothers, who were largely responsible for launching the first Reggae album in mainland China. The event was hosted by Ultimate Productions at OMNI SPACE in Beijing. 

Participants were treated to a live performance by the One Drop Band, as members gave their rendition of some of Marley’s biggest hits including: One Love, Is This Love, Could You Be Loved, Trench Town Rock, One Drop, So Much Things to Say among other favorites. 

The One Drop Band performs live at the “Bob Marley Day 2018” celebration at OMNI SPACE in Beijing.  Photo provided by Vicki Cann

The One Drop Band performs live at the “Bob Marley Day 2018” celebration at OMNI SPACE in Beijing.  Photo provided by Vicki Cann

Denis Antoine (centre), Grenada’s Ambassador to the PRC; Ayesha Wharton (right), Chargé d

Denis Antoine (centre), Grenada’s Ambassador to the PRC; Ayesha Wharton (right), Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in China, and Vicki Cann are all smiles at the “Bob Marley Day 2018” event hosted by Ultimate Productions. Photo provided by Vicki Cann

Established in 2012, One Drop is a Reggae Band that plays a variety of Roots and Lovers Rock Reggae while promoting a greater appreciation of the genre in China and Asia. Hailing from Qinhuangdao in China’s Hebei Province, Zhang Zichen, is the lead female vocalist. 

“Reggae is an attitude towards life. It has taught me how to better live my life, how to treat other people no matter where they are from with love and respect. Reggae music makes me feel positive all the time and makes me realize how truly wonderful life is!” said Zhang. 

Serving as a music teacher in his home country of Zambia, Johnson Lufungulo, played an instrumental role forming One Drop Band in 2012 and has performed as leading male vocalist.

“Reggae means the world to me, it is my everything! I love Reggae’s positivity, it is both encouraging and uplifting. Reggae gives us all hope that at some point mankind will better understand the meaning of togetherness and to begin to live in that way,” he said.

The impact of Bob Marley’s music was visible in the audience, with persons hailing from across China, Russia, the United Kingdom, the USA,  Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe,  Burundi, Iceland, as well as members of the Caribbean diaspora.  

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com)

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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