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People gather to celebrate at Beijing's Ditan Park

01-31-2014 18:55 BJT Special Report: 2014 Spring Festival |

Today marks the first day of the Year of the Horse. And for the next seven days, there are going to be many activities happening around Beijing, where people can experience Chinese culture up close and personal. Our reporter Fei Ye brings us highlights from one of the biggest celebrations in the capital.

During the Spring Festival, the temple fair is one of the most important cultural events, featuring all kinds of Chinese folk art. So far, there have been more than ten major temple fairs held each year in Beijing.

The roots of temple fairs date back to when vendors began doing business near Buddhist and Taoist temples, particularly when many pilgrims came to pay tribute to the gods during festivals. The practice grew, gradually turning into a regular event. Now, temple fairs are an important and joyful destination for Chinese people during the Spring Festival. And many people from all over the country are here to participate in the festivities.

During the Spring Festival, the temple fair is one of the most important cultural events,
featuring all kinds of Chinese folk art.

"Today is the first day of the horse, the weather is nice and we are here to relax and recharge. We especially wanted to come to Beijing to experience this temple fair. It’s grand and full of activities. This is a great representation of our culture and customs. That’s why I brought my granddaughter to see this. She needs to learn about our traditions from a young age." Said Li Ying, Jiangsu Province resident.

"It’s an extraordinary gathering of Chinese people to celebrate their culture, our culture. So for me it’s heartwarming to be with people. In Chinese they call it kaixin (开心)or renao(热闹), which means celebrating with all these people. It’s a wonderful experience." Said Jin Zhu, Beijing resident.

During the Spring Festival, the temple fair is one of the most important cultural events,
featuring all kinds of Chinese folk art.

There are meat skewers, sticky rice, fried sugar doughs and many more. I myself was able to try this Cha Tang, which is made of lotus favored starch and water mixed together, and topped with sesame seeds. Next to the food stalls are wooden palanquins, used by emperors and empresses in the past. They are usually lacquered in an auspicious shade of red, richly ornamented and gilded. Another visually intriguing activity is sugar painting, a favorite among children.

"This tradition has been carried out in my family for four generations. The art form originated from the Ming dynasty. I use hot liquid sugar to create two dimensional figures, usually Chinese zodiac signs. This morning I have already created and sold almost a hundred horses." Artist Li Huishi said.

Other activities at the park include folk performances, stilt walkers, puppet shows and much more. The Ditan Park temple fair will be open until next Thursday.

During the Spring Festival, the temple fair is one of the most important cultural events,
featuring all kinds of Chinese folk art.

 

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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