The ramparts of the Badaling Great Wall at Yanqing county in northeastern Beijing were outlined in green light in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on the night of March 16.
The lighting event, organized by Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative with the support of the Embassy of Ireland in Beijing, was held in recognition of Ireland’s National Day. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said 2016 marks the seventh year of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative. Many well-known attractions and landmark sites worldwide have expressed an interest in getting involved in the celebrations, including the Roman Coliseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Sacre-Coeur Basilica in Paris, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro and Nelson’s Column in London.
Over the years, the Great Wall has hosted a number of Irish events, such as a concert by the Chieftains in 1983, when the Irish folk band became the first Western musicians to play on the Wall since the revolution of 1949.
The illumination of the Great Wall was overseen by Ireland’s ambassador to China, Paul Kavanagh, who was joined by a number of Chinese officials including Xie Wenzheng, deputy mayor of Yanqing district.
“We appreciate very much Beijing’s support and cooperation in having the Great Wall of China join the global greening this March,” Ambassador Kavanagh said. “The Great Wall is a sacred icon of national heritage and it’s not a small thing. [The lighting] is a real gesture of friendship and we see it as such.”
On February 18, Dublin’s Mansion House and ancient City Hall were illuminated in red in honor of China’s Spring Festival.
St. Patrick’s Day is becoming a recognized event in China. Other buildings that went green for Irish Day include Canton Tower in Guangzhou and venues in Shanghai.
Aside from the greening of the Great Wall, this year’s St Patrick’s Day cultural program featured activities such as live music sessions and concerts by visiting Irish groups and soloists, art exhibitions, talks by Irish writers, the Irish Ball and a Ceili and parade at the UCD-BJUT joint college.