celebrating

Yang Qian, our florist and his son.

Much happiness throughout Shenzhen. Children play, families stroll, and friends meet for dinners and laughter. Our florist has been exceptionally busy, bringing in orchids, daffodils, and lucky orange trees. Indeed, his sidewalk stand has grown several times its usual size as people purchase New Year’s flowers.

All this bustle is a sign both of how settled Shenzhen has become and how commercialized Spring Festival. On the one hand, many families are not only staying for the Spring Festival, but also bringing in relatives from neidi. In this sense, Shenzhen has become a “hometown”. On the other hand, businesses are staying open, especially restaurants, themeparks, and supermarkets. The malls hum, the parks sparkle, and department stores offer great deals. In other words, consumption is a key element of the celebration and thus, many migrant aren’t going home for the festival because, well, they’re still working.

Of note: the themes of Shenzhen identity, holiday spirit, and consumption all come together in Zhou Bichang’s (周笔畅) version of “The God of Wealth Arrives (财神到),” which was released in 2008, but is still played throughout the city.  Zhou Bichang (笔笔 to her fans) was the city’s representative and runner-up (to Li Yuchun) in the first Super Girl contest and she both appeals to and represents the city’s generation 80; she’s cute, fashionable, and comfortable moving between Cantonese and Mandarin. Moreover, the values she represents are unabashedly neo-liberal or possibly even protestant (pace Weber):

财神到财神到     好心得好报  God of wealth arrives, god of wealth arrives, good hearts get good rewards.
财神话财神话 揾钱依正路  God of wealth says, god of wealth says, earn money on the proper road.
财神到财神到 好走快两步  God of wealth arrives, god of wealth arrives, walk a little faster.

To be rich may or may not be glorious, but come New Year’s in Shenzhen, it’s definitely a good time.

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