New Year Events in Cities
Temple fair is one of the most important celebration activities during the Spring Festival. This traditional cultural event integrates religious worship and entertainment, and features almost all kinds of Chinese folk art. Temple fairs in Beijing have a long history, and the origin can be traced back to the Liao Dynasty (907 – 1125). The fairs are held at various ancient temples regularly or during festivals, so they are called "temple fairs".
For foreigners, visiting a temple fair is definitely a cultural experience. You may enjoy the reenactment of the ceremony of worship to Earth and Heaven. Folk performances like dragon and lion dances, demonstration of traditional arts and crafts, and fun games are all part and parcel of temple fairs. You can also taste numerous Beijing snacks, court dishes and delicacies. China Highlights new year tour to Beijing include a visit to a new year temple fair.
Ditan Temple Fair
Location: Ditan (Temple of the Earth) Park, East Avenue, Anding Gate, Dongcheng District.
Highlight: Reenactment of worshipping ceremonies of the Qing Dynasty (1636 – 1911) to the God of Earth.
Details: Ditan Temple Fair is one of the most popular and long-standing fairs in Beijing. About one million people visit it each year during the Spring Festival. Besides the ceremonies, there are a wide range of folk performances and activities, such as puppet shows, traditional art exhibitions, dragon and lion dances, and acrobatic shows.
Longtan Temple Fair
Location: Longtan Park, 8 Longtan Rd. Chongwen District.
Highlight: Various interactive competitions which invite visitors' participation.
Details: Longtan Temple Fair is also one of the most popular o ones of its kind in Beijing. The activities here are very similar to those in Ditan Temple Fair. Various interactive games and competitions invite you to join in, such as table tennis, diabolo (Chinese Yoyo) spinning and arm wrestling. Folk performances and local snacks also abound at the fair.
Dongyue Temple Fair
Location: Dongyue Temple, 141 Chaowai Avenue, Chaoyang District.
Highlight: Exhibition of "Fu (Good Fortune)" culture.
Details: Dongyue Temple Fair had started as early as the Yuan Dynasty (1206 – 1368). The culture of "Fu" has been the essence of this fair. Many activities are centered on the "Fu" culture. Visitors can pray for food fortune at the altar, walk on the "Fu" road, or hang a "Fu" card to invite Fu" for the coming year. Colorful folk performances, artwork displays, and snacks are also available.
In Hong Kong, the Spring Festival is also joyously celebrated as people in Mainland China do, difference in activities exit though. It is one of the most important events on Hong Kong's festival calendar. People mark the occasion with a unique fusion of modern fun and ancient customs. A magnificent annual fireworks display and an exciting night parade are included in the celebrations.
The Victoria Harbor is the site of the magnificent fireworks display. On the night of the second day of the Spring Festival, beautiful fireworks will bright up the sky and welcome the New Year.
On the first evening of the New Year is the time for a carnival-like night parade. It features elaborately decorated floats accompanied by international and local marching bands and performers.
Hong Kong people go shopping during the Spring Festival, and the huge crowds at shopping malls and markets make it an athletic challenge. People shop not only for food, but also for decorations and cloths at this end of the season sale.
New Year Praying
Temples are open to visitors at this festive time. Major temples, such as Wong Tai Sin Temple and Polin Monastery receive the most visitors at this time of the year. People go there to burn incense, write wishes on cards and pray for good fortune for the New Year.
Guangzhou is known as the "Flower City" in China for its blooming flowers all year round. Bustling flower fairs are held annually during the Spring Festivals. The flower fairs usually start three days ahead of the Spring Festival, and reach the climax on the Eve. There will be various folk performances, and local artists also demonstrate and sell their paintings and calligraphy works in the fair.
Kumquat trees, peach blossoms and peony are the most sought-after ones at the flower fairs. Kumquat, or "Jin Qian Ju" in Chinese, has a similar pronunciation to many auspicious words. "Jin" is similar to gold, "Qian" to money, and "Ju" to luck. Peach, in Chinese culture, is a symbol of longevity and is regarded as the strongest defense against the evil. Peony enjoys high prestige among the Chinese people, being "the flower of richness and honor". Among their many colors, the bright red ones are particularly auspicious, bringing good luck and prosperity.
The major flower fairs in Guangzhou are Xihu Flower Fair, Donghu Flower Fair, Liwan Flower Fair, and Tianhe Flower Fair.
Lion Dance Performances
Among the numerous jolly celebrations, Lion dance is always the biggest attraction to the local people. They are performed to bring good fortune and to ward off evil spirits. The person performing the lion head initiates the movements, and then the drummer and other performers will follow so that the movements are synchronized and smooth. The Lion movements, accompanied by firecrackers and loud music, are considered to scare away the evil spirits and to welcome the good fortune. On the first working day after the Spring Festival Holiday, many companies invite performing teams to perform the lion dance in front of the company, hoping that it will bring good fortune and prosperity to the company.
Known as the Paris of the East, Shanghai celebrates the Spring Festival in many ways which reflect its mixed culture. Various entertainments are held to celebrate this week-long extravaganza. Besides the indoor activities, Shanghai folks, especially the younger generation, join in the New Year countdowns at squares or beside the Huangpu River.
During the Spring Festival, numerous high-quality live performances of various genres will be on in many theaters, concert halls and arts centers. You can enjoy the wonderful performances presented by world-class masters. From classical chefs-d’oeuvre to Chinese folk music, from Rock & Roll to Jazz, you have so many choices!
Temple Praying and Ringing
If you prefer Chinese style, go visit the temples where locals will be praying and ringing for good luck in the coming year. Big events take place in major temples like Longhua Temple, City God Temple and Jingan Temple. People pay big money to ring the bell and burn "the first incense" at the midnight.
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