Beijing Festival Guide
Beijing, China's renowned historic city of culture, with thousands of years of cultural integration with other distinct ethnic groups, has formed its own unique social customs. The result is what is often referred to as "Beijing-flavored" culture.
The social customs of "old Beijing" are heavily localized; "old Beijing" embodies traditional folk concepts, which play a very important role in the Chinese nation's culture. The daily lives of Beijing's citizens, at any time, at any place, and at any affair, express the traditional, yet vigorous, vitality of local social customs and habits, such as local gatherings, the celebration of Chinese New Year, and visiting the homes of associates, friends and families to offer good will.
By examining the customs and habits of Beijing citizens of old, such as their moral beliefs and religious backgrounds, the origins of traditional Chinese folk culture can be realized; the yearning and longing of a blessed life and joyful future can be felt. Also, the customs and habits of differing cultures associated with the Olympic Games can be found. '
Celebrating Chinese New Year
Spring Festival is the traditional holiday that has the most distinctive Chinese characteristic. It represents the conclusion of one year and the start of the New Year. Traditional Beijing citizens usually begin their year on Laba, and continue celebrating until the end of the Lantern Festival.
Traditional Beijing citizens are very particular about the way they celebrate festivals, many of which still exist today. During Chinese New Year's Eve, people visit their friends and family members. That is known as Cisui. At midnight, outside people's homes, fireworks are set off. The first day of Chinese New Year, one will wake up at 5 am to burn incense, light fireworks and visit others. That is known as Hexinsui. From the first day of Chinese New Year to the fifth day, known as Powu, eating dumplings is a must. This custom remains today. Visiting temple fairs is one of the popular activities during the celebration of Xinchun, which begins on the first day of Chinese New Year, and continues to the 16th day. During this time of the year, shopping centers are swamped, and people's homes are inundated with visitors.
Changdian Temple Fai - Cultural Temple Fail
The most distinctive cultural temple fair is the Changdian Temple Fair; it's one of Beijing's oldest temple fairs. The temple fair is located inside Liulichang, on Nanxinhua Street. Every year, on the day after Chinese New Year, shops from Liulichang display, and sell, their antiques and curios on the street. The resulting cultural atmosphere is engaging.
Every year, artists set up booths at Changdian; for example, some artists perform wrestling manoeuvres and some others make flour dolls. Add to this the small items and snacks being sold, and various noises, hollering and cheering, and Changdian Temple Fair will certainly keep you entertained and occupied.
Address: Xuanwti District, Liulichang Street.
Directions: Take bus 7, 14 or 15 and get off at Hufanglu Station; take Subway Line 2 and get off at Hepingmen Station.
Longtanhu Temple Fair - Fitness Temple Fair
Longtanhu Temple Fair is renowned in Beijing for its common and fitness activities. The fair highlights various performances - such as Gaoqiao, Tache, Hanchu Zhongfan, Yaogu and Paolu.
The common handicrafts have a feel of nostalgia; works such as Miani Juanren and Lianpu elicit emoti from the past. Under the canopy are story-tellers, who speak in a deep Beijing accent, and who play Beijing-themed music in the background.
Stalls, at which snacks are sold, are situated along the banks of the lake. For sale are some of the most popular Beijing snacks - sue Chaogan, Baodu and Yangzasui
Look at the happiness on peop faces and feel the heat surrounding their bodies; the lively holiday fes-tive atmosphere emanates throughout.
Baiyunguan Temple Fair - Taoist Culture Temple Fair
Taoist culture is profound at Baiyunguan, which is renowned for its intense-burning incense and long hours of opening. During the temple fair, many traditional Beijing folk-custom activities can be seen, such as touching the monkey head, and tossing coins at the large copper coin hanging off Wofeng Bridge.
Common folks believe by touching Shihou at Baiyunguan they will be able to get rid 3f their illnesses, make their bad luck disappear and prolong their lives. As a result, visitors compete with one another to touch the Shihou. A large copper coin hangs under Wofeng Bridge. If a visitor strikes the center of this large copper coin with the coins on hand, his/her thoughts, regardless of what they are, will come true. These two activities are the most popular at the temple fairs.
Also at the temple fairs are various kinds of common snacks, traditional handicrafts, traditional Beijing folk-custom-painting shows, and large-scale recreational activities.
Dongyue Temple - Beijing Folk-customs Museum
Dongyue Temple-Beijing Folk-custom Museum was constructed in 1319. It is approximately 47,000 square meters, and it has nearly 600 halls. This was the residential area of past Zhengyi Sect Taoists. At the time, it was the biggest Taoist palace in northern China. It's now a State-protected cultural site.
Historically, Dongyue Temple was the site where the State offered sacrifices. The site eventually became the cultural activity center that focused on folk customs, because it had been the site of sacrifices. The site was transformed into the Beijing Folk-custom Museum after it was restored.
Beijing Folk-custom Museum is Beijing's only State-operated folk-custom-themed museum. An exhibit showing the work of traditional Beijing folk-customs is held year-round. Each Spring Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Double-Ninth Festival and other traditional festivals, the museum holds folk-custom events that are culturally rich and colorful.
Zhihua Temple - Beijing Wenbo Exchange House
Zhihua Temple was constructed in 1443. It has distinct architectural characteristics dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Buddhist art is simple, unsophisticated and primitive. Such creations are on display at Zhihua Temple. Also on display is a precious musical item known as the Zhihuasi Jingyinyue.
Although the temple has a history that dates back nearly 500 years, its basic structures have been well preserved, especially the Zhuanlunzhang inside the temple's hall. It's the only piece of original wooden Zhuanlunzhang, from the Ming Dynasty, in Beijing. Jingyinyue was passed to Zhihua Temple during the early stages of its construction. In the temple's collection of traditional Chinese musical instruments.
this particular piece is the only item that follows the pattern of succession based on the dynasties. Visitors will also enjoy this musical instrument's elegant and artistic shape.
Beijing Wenbo Exchange House, in Zhihua Temple, was established in 1992. Its purpose is to accelerate the development, communication and research of cultural relics, museums and civilian collections. Facilitating cultural exchanges is the museum's main focus.
Fragrant Hills Maple Leaf Festival
To the west of Beijing are Fragrant Hills and its surrounding hills, which have an abundance of Huanglu and Maple trees. Every year, before and after the frost, the foliage turns from green to red, at which time a sea of red maple leafs appear. They cover the nearby mountains. The colors are bright, as if the foliage is on fire; it's truly a spectacular sight. From the top of the mountain, the Summer Palace, Yuquanshan and various gardens can be seen. The views will help visitors relax and free their minds.
Daguanyuan Spring Welcome Meeting
Every Spring Festival, Daguanyuan hosts a spring welcome meeting. During the gathering, performances, based on the novel Hongloumeng, and guessing games are held in the garden. The most-anticipated performance is Yuanfei Xingqin, because it is grand and it presents real-live personas.
Chongyang Denggao Festival
During September, the sky is high and the atmosphere is pleasant. Why not take advantage of that and ascend to a place of great height and then look into the distance. It will put you in a relaxed, happy state. As a result, Denggao, or mountain climbing, has become a healthy sporting event.
In Beijing, Denggao is popular at Jingshan, Badachu and Xiangshan. Badachu has even hosted the Double-Ninth Denggao Festival, which attracted many tourists.
Longqingxia Ice-illumination Festival
Longqingxia Ice-illumination Festival is the world's largest, southern-most ice-illumination, open-air site. The illuminated ice sculptures have well-defined themes. The unique geographical environment, illuminated sculptures and colors create uniquely themed objects. This art form is unique to China; thus, it has become a wonder of Crpa's folk art.