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David Najera

 

This is my third year in Guangzhou. Before coming to Guangzhou, I was always under the impression that Guangzhou was just a very trade-oriented city operating under the shadow of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. However, I realized to my pleasant surprise that Guangzhou has not only played a very important role in trade and business but also in the opening up of China for the past 2,000 years – and in fact, continues to do so. It is a very practical city and the Cantonese people are very open to opportunities. So, Guangzhou is definitely one of the windows to showcase China to the world and demonstrate that it is a highly competitive and productive country.

The year 2014 has been very fruitful for us. We succeeded in organizing various activities to promote Mexican culture. What's more, China's International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair was successfully co-hosted by Mexico, here in Guangzhou. Thousands of Mexicans came to Guangzhou. In mentioning Guangzhou to them, they just know about the booming economic growth of his city. Impressions of business fairs may pop up in their minds when they hear of festivals and events in Guangzhou. Now they can tell others more about this great city. Guangzhou is an old and cultural city, in which old tradition has been well preserved and followed.

Last summer my friends and I visited the Sunflower Garden. It is situated in the Nansha district, which entails a two-hour trip from central Guangzhou. Not many foreign tourists know this ecological garden since it is less famous than other tourist spots. However, it is regarded as one of the most interesting places in Guangzhou.

We saw millions of sunflowers booming like a piece of beautiful brocade, and the garden is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most sunflowers grown in one area. A number of newlyweds came to the garden to take their wedding photos, hoping that their married life can be sunny and happy in the future. Other varieties of flowers also can be found here, like tulips from the Netherlands.

There is an old saying that I learnt from our local employees: "No flower fairs, no Spring Festival." Guangzhou has long been praised as a "flower city" and the Spring Festival flower fair held every year has attracted attention from home and abroad. The origin of flower fairs can be dated back to the ancient night flower fair. I have witnessed during the festival that streets are decorated with fragrant and beautiful fresh flowers, golden tangerines, and an elegant miniature landscape. They look like rivers of flowers in the distance. The streets and fairs in Guangzhou bustle with people shopping, and florists from suburban areas set up temporary shacks for the flower fair.

The flower fair usually starts three days before the Spring Festival. New Year's Eve is the climax of the flower market, when huge crowds of people surge to the streets. It is customary for most of the families to visit the fair after their reunion dinner on New Year's Eve and buy a potted tree with tangerines hanging on it. The tangerine symbolizes good luck and wealth to the local people, and the chrysanthemum symbolizes
longevity.

Handmade Mexican batik and embroidery

Mexican flower patterns on the cloth

Mexican people like all kinds of flowers just like people in Guangzhou. This can easily be seen in our traditional costume. During the last festival, we were invited by the local costume brand Goelia to make a presentation for introducing Mexican traditional costume. Mexican culture encompasses a broad range of fascinating costumes. Varying cultural influences throughout history have extended the diverse nature of Mexican customs, whose origins lie in Aztec rituals, the Mayan civilization. But they have something in common, like the use of vivid color, the beautiful embroideries of flowers. The elements of flowers are frequently used in the Mexican costumes.

I want to emphasize that we share the same color. Dahlia piñata Mexico was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963. It has the red color like kapok, the city flower of Guangzhou. I believe that there will be more and more economic cooperation and cultural exchange between Mexico and Guangzhou. We have lots of common interests, not only in economics but also in culture, tourism, gourmet cuisine, etc. The friendship and partnership between Mexico and Guangzhou will blossom like the flowers in spring.

Ladies wearing Mexican style dress



(By David Najera)

Editor:Lynus Tan
 
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