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Hangzhou’s Folk Cultures and Temple Fairs 2019-06-24
Chinese Traditional New Year, Spring Festival is an extremely important festival for the Chinese; some say it is the equivalent to Christmas in the Western world. During each annual festival numerous events take place enabling you to learn all about China’s profound folk culture and its temple fairs.

According to historical data temple fairs already began in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) existing then as important occasions for trade. Coinciding with Buddhist festivals they were held near temples, hence the name 'temple fair' and have ever since become a significant part of China’s cultural heritage.

West Lake Fair for Pilgrims
West Lake Fair for Pilgrims, associated with Pilgrimage, is a temporary fair that started as early as the Tang Dynasty (618-917), gradually becoming a significant and traditional part of Hangzhou’s culture. As far back as the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) when Hangzhou was the capital, the emperors during Spring Festival would lead their civil and military officials on an annual pilgrimage to major Buddhist Temples. Following the emperors’ example silkworm farmers wanting a bumper harvest came over to Hangzhou and joined in the fair to pray and over time West Lake Fair for Pilgrims took its stand.

Tianzhu, Lingyin, Yue Fei Temple and Wushan Hill are the most popular. West Lake Fair for Pilgrims, according to the Lunar Calendar, usually lasts for around three months from February 12th (the Birthday of Flowers) to May 5th (the Dragon Boat Festival). Every year thousands of people flood into the hallowed temples where local stores are elaborately decorated and vendor's stalls cover every inch of the ground. A truly splendid sight and tradition that celebrates Chinese New Year and leaves locals and Buddhist pilgrims truly blessed.

Song Dynasty Town Temple Fair
Different from the West Lake Fair which is designed for Buddhist pilgrims and locals, the Temple Fair held in Song Dynasty Town is for entertainment. With the slogan: “Give us one day, we'll give you one thousand years”, Song Dynasty Town aims to portray through acrobatics, folk stories and dances the ancient culture of Lin’an* during the Song Dynasty (960-1280).

* Lin’an, now called Hangzhou was once ancient China’s capital.

Spring Festival Temple Fair in Song Dynasty Town, beginning on the 1st day through to the 15th day of the first lunar month (Feb. 19 to Mar. 5 2015) invites tourists to join in with Song Emperors praying for blessings and worshipping the gods while wishing for a prosperous new year. For only one day you too can learn about this amazing 1000-year-old Song Dynasty culture.

Wushan Hill Temple Fair
There are, all year round, a number of Temple Fairs held at Wushan Hill but it is the Spring Festival Temple Fair, falling from 1st January to 6th January on Chinese lunar Calendar (Feb. 18 to Feb. 24 2015) that is the grandest of all and which is usually attended by the locals praying for a smooth year.

At Wushan Hill, temple fair is more than just a religious event it has now become the centre stage for various folk artists and performances and is also a market where one can buy folk crafts such as paper cutting and candy figures. In such an urbanised world, Temple Fair at Wushan Hill still manages to retain its original features while presenting modern day tourists with traditional folk charms.
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