Intangible Heritage at Harvest Festival
Nataliia Litvinova, 2021-10-12

Cai Hongguang, a representative inheritor of Dongyang’s bamboo weaving, moves his fingers up and down quickly, skillfully knitting bamboo strips. This was a peculiar image appearing on CCTV’s news broadcast Xinwen Lianbo on the evening of September 23 during the occasion of Chinese Farmers Harvest Festival.


From September 23-24, the 2021 Chinese Farmers Harvest Festival was held in the Xiangjiadang Modern Agricultural Park of the Nanhu District in Jiaxing, Zhejiang. Themed “harvest celebration and Party’s appreciation,” the event saw the participation of 11 provinces and municipalities along the Yangtze River Basin, including the three provinces and the municipality in the Yangtze River Delta. Participants engaged festival goers with intangible cultural heritage exhibitions, local product exhibitions, and folk performances. Among other activities, Jinhua’s Dongyang bamboo weaving and Pujiang wheat straw cut and paste were invited to participate in this intangible cultural heritage exhibition.


“It was a surprise; I didn’t expect to end up on Xinwen Lianbo. It was a great honor to be part of the event. For the event, I prepared Dongyang’s traditional wedding dowry—traditional grain pannier and bags with innovative designs. I hope I filled the harvest with joy and helped the nation feel the charm of Jinhua,” said Master Cai.


He began as a bamboo weaving apprentice at the age of 16, following the steps of local master He Fuli. Growing up in the countryside and having a special connection with the bamboo products, Cai Hongguang realized that his life goal was related to bamboo and committed himself to integrate traditional bamboo into modern life.


Jiang Yunhua, a representative inheritor of the Pujiang wheat straw craft, is already in her sixties and participated in the exhibition. She enthusiastically guided visitors in experiencing and learning about the art and did not show any signs of fatigue. While preparing for the event, Master Jiang put together a special tribute: “This year’s farmers harvest festival is held in Jiaxing, where the ‘red boat’ of the Chinese revolution set sail, so I prepared my work, ‘Red Boat Spirit,’ and brought it here, at the origin of the revolution.”


The Jinhua Center for Cultural Tourism Development and Intangible Heritage Protection has actively organized events at all levels to encourage support for traditional heritage inheritors and to carry out various forms of cultural protection activities. It is a general priority for the center to constantly improve the visibility of intangible heritage, to encourage participation in intangible-heritage-related events, and to create a rich atmosphere in which everyone comes to know, learn, and appreciate the local traditional heritage. (By Xia Binting, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Mariam Ayad)