Immortal Day is an ideal time for visitors to experience folk customs and culture, taste local snacks, and purchase local specialties of Suzhou. Various wonderful art performances and exhibitions attract millions of visitors each year.
Suzhou's Immortal Day is a traditional festival for Suzhou locals, whose highlights include going to the temple fair, buying local specialties, and savoring Suzhou snacks.
A number of colorful and vivid performances take place at the temple fair during Immortal Day, including Kunqu Opera, stilt walking, and ancient costume shows. Visitors are highly recommended to participate.
Vendors from different parts of Suzhou gather together on Nanhao Street to promote and sell their products, including silk, Suzhou fans, Biluochun tea, and Kun stones, adding much luster to the festival. Visitors are advised to bargain before buying.
During Immortal Day the streets are crowed with vendors selling local snacks, and you're highly recommended to taste the following: honey-soaked tofu, pine-nut candies, shrimp-roe soy sauce, sweet and sour mandarin fish, lard rice cakes, and shark's fin in clear soup.
The legend has been passed down, from one generation to another since the Song Dynasty, that the birthday of Lv Dongbin (吕洞宾 /lyoo dong-bin/, one of the eight immortals in ancient times) fell on the 14th of the 4th month of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. His name is known to almost all people in southern China, and he devoted all his life to delivering all living creatures from torments.
Lv Dongbin, it is said, not only lived among the common people after becoming an immortal, but also he was willing to cure people's disease and rid them of evils. Therefore he was considered as a savior in the earthly world. The common people thronged to pay a visit to his temple three days before or after his birthday to pray for happiness and luck each year, which has evolved into the present Immortal Day.
It's said that Lv Dongbin is reincarnated as a beggar or a vendor during Immortal Day, walking among the crowed, so he could be anyone. The locals crowd on the streets or in the temples on that day, hoping to meet him and be blessed.
Location: Fuji Taoist Temple, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province
How to get there: Bus 6, 301, 313, 522, or 812 will take you to Fuji Taoist Temple from Suzhou city center.
Nearby attractions: Humble Administrator's Garden, Suzhou Museum, and Lion Grove; Baoguo Temple.