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CCTV Spring Festival Gala

Updated: Mar 6


Today is the first day of the Year of Rat. (Yes, it is your year if you were born on 1996, 1974, 1962…) It is also the start of the Spring Festival – the most important festival in the Chinese communities. It is now the 3rd year which I had my Spring Festival in Mainland China since I moved from Hong Kong. I observe quite a lot of interesting aspects of how people in Mainland China people spend their Spring Festival. When I spent my first New Year eve in Mainland China, I was amused by how popular the CCTV Spring Festival Gala is here. Almost all the people I talked to watched it, even for those who found it boring!! To people in Mainland China, the show is not just a TV show. The Gala is like a ritual which all should practice on the New Year eve!!


Whilst I was watching it (not all, just bits and pieces) last night, I wondered why a TV show of 4.5 hours can be so popular. There are many reasons. It has a long history of 20 years. It was probably the only, if not the best, entertainment choice many many years ago during the Spring Festival. People watched it when they were young and emotional attachment was built.


As said, there are many reasons. But more importantly, with my trainer and presenter hat on, I wondered whether we can learn anything from it. The Gala is basically an event of 4.5 hours. People can get bored for any piece of communication of that length. The Gala overcomes this challenge by 2 concepts – ‘short session’ and ‘variety’. First, if I am right, most sessions in the Gala are of less than 10 minutes. Audience can have a break in mind (or physically as well) every now and then. It is well within the ‘18-minute Wall’ mentioned by Granville Toogood. Second, the sessions are very different from one to another – singing, drama, talk show. Adult needs variety to stay engaged – 1 of our 5 Adult Learning Principles.


Enough on learning during this celebration time. Let me take this opportunity to wish you a great Year of Rat!! 恭喜发财!! (This is a very common greeting among each other during Spring Festival. It means wishing you a good fortune!!)

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