Monday, March 3, 2014

Spring Festival Gala

The only time we could watch TV in China was in our hotel room when we traveled. The Tube in our apartment…dead. Fine. Too much else to do than watch it anyway. But while we were traveling in Viet Nam during the high holy days of Spring Festival, every Chinese TV channel was carrying the same super variety show; of which I knew nothing until one of my students gave an information presentation. Folks, this is the biggest…I mean BIGGEST TV production on planet Earth with the largest viewing audience on the planet, as well. CCTV goes to the mat for this baby. I included a link to a review of the 2014 Gala, but you can find any number of links to see the glitz 'n glamor. The Oscar's got nothing on these folks.

Here is my student's presentation:

     The first CCTV New Year's Gala was held in 1982, with performers in the arts, drama, dance, and song from all over the country. Research commissioned by China Television Research (CTR) in 2007 indicated that an estimated 93.3% of Chinese families watched the Gala on television. 
     It is an evening gala of the drama, dance, and song, which is broadcast on the eve of Chinese New Year; live on CCTV-1 by satellite on CCTV-4, CCTV-E and CCTV-F and more recently on CCTV-HD. Because it is viewed by an estimated 700 million people on New Year's Eve every year, the Spring Festival Gala has become a cultural phenomenon beginning in the early 1980s in mainland China, and since then has become a necessity of New Year's nights.
     Harmony and reunion are the two themes of the Gala. With a cheerful atmosphere, laughter and applause permeate from start to finish. The Gala usually starts at 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve and lasts about four hours. The program's TV ratings have ranked first among China's variety show programs over the past two decades.
     Its importance has reached over to political, economic, and ethnic areas. As the Eve of Chinese New Year is a time where the family gathers, the typical situation involves a large 3-generation family gathered in front of their TV set while making dumplings for the first New Year's meal. The Gala adds a mood of celebration in the house as people laugh, discuss and enjoy the performance. It has become an ingrained tradition on Mainland CHina to watch the New Year's Gala on New Year's Eve. But it is difficult to cater to all audience's tastes. Each year the gala hope to incorporate new ideas and surprise people. Both director and performers rack their brains during writing and rehearsals.  It has become a big challenge for CCTV and its creative staff. 

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