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East China city holds neighborhood festival to revive traditional bonds


15:31, November 05, 2011

HANGZHOU, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- China's eastern city of Hangzhou has taken on a more neighborly feel this week, with residents of local communities celebrating their friendships during the city's "neighborhood festival."

Chinese people used to highly value relations with their neighbors, as they often shared courtyards with each other. "Distant kinsmen mean less than close neighbors" was once a popular saying.

However, the tradition has been waning in recent years, as more families are moving out of the courtyards and into modern apartment buildings. Neighbors may nod their heads or give a small smile while passing, but the close bonds that once existed between them are not as common anymore.

Hangzhou kicked off its neighborhood festival in 2004 in order to revive the tradition of building close bonds between community residents. Children in the city go door-to-door to greet their neighbors with cheer, while adults reconcile with each other over minor differences and embrace new friendships.

Community residents also gather together in public areas to drink tea and watch artistic performances.

Wu Juping, the festival's ambassador, said she will do more to build harmonious and lasting relations among neighboring residents.

Wu knows a thing or two about helping neighbors, having been crowned China's "most beautiful mother" after catching her neighbor's infant daughter in her arms after the child tumbled from a 10th-floor balcony on July 2.

"The festival is getting more and more popular among the people of Hangzhou," said Ye Ming, deputy secretary of the Hangzhou Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). He added that the festival has proved to be an important means for upholding traditional virtues and promoting harmony among neighbors.

Hangzhou has held the neighborhood festival, the first of its kind in the country, every year since 2004.

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