City lays on the festivities for Lunar New Year
Joshua Samuel Brown
From bustling street markets to contemporary art exhibitions, the calendar of events across the border this holiday season caters for all tastes
The Lunar New Year is fast approaching, and if you haven't already reserved plane tickets to get out of town, chances are you will be staying in Hong Kong, limiting your entertainment choices to watching DVDs or joining a Filipina singalong at the HSBC concourse.
But if you are looking for a more traditionally festive way to ring in the Year of the Rooster, consider a trip north of the border, as Shenzhen promises to be in full bloom for the holiday.
From today until next Tuesday, sections of the main avenue of Aiguo Road in the Lowu district will be closed to traffic for the city's 24th annual flower fair.
Chrysanthemums, orchids, peach blossoms and traditional Lunar New Year tangerine trees will be on display, and for sale.
A smaller flower festival will be held around the same time in Futian district's Fuzhong River Park.
The festivities continue with the Temple Fair in the neighbourhood of Shenzhen's Children's Palace on Hongli Road in Futian, slated to be held between February 6 and 15 as part of the Lunar New Year celebrations.
In the Chinese tradition, temple fairs are held to celebrate the holidays and beseech the gods for good fortune in the coming year.
If this year's temple fair (which promises to be the largest held in Shenzhen) is anything to go by, then the Year of the Rooster is off to an auspicious start.
The fair will feature traditional crafts and performances ranging from Sichuan opera and acrobatic displays to a genuine Tang dynasty puppet show.
Hands-on is this year's buzzword, and visitors of all ages are invited to create block prints, clay figurines, kites and other traditional Chinese crafts.
In addition to arts and crafts, the festival will feature a food street serving up traditional snacks, a flower market, a children's park, a number of tea houses and shops selling festival-themed goods.
Families will be especially interested in checking this out, so expect a bustling and festive atmosphere, come rain or shine.
Though the Picasso exhibit may have headed north, February is a great month for art happenings in Shenzhen.
As wise birds head south for the winter, so too do hip Beijing-based artists, or their art at least.
The works of painters Fang Lijun and Wang Guangyi will be featured as part of an exhibit of contemporary Chinese art at the Overseas Chinese Town Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT) during the month.
OCAT is a huge warehouse studio setting in a converted factory in the district of Futian.
For detailed directions to the OCAT, call the He Xiangning Musuem on (86 755) 2660 2989.
For those whose taste in art runs more eastern orthodox than Far East, the Guan Shanyue Art Museum is showing a contemporary collection that is on loan from Russia until February 27.
The exhibit features sketches and oil paintings of teachers, alumni and students of the prestigious Repin Arts Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
The Guan Shanyue Art Museum is at 6026 Hongli Road in Futian.
Call (86 755) 8306 3086.