Time: 1st day of the 1st lunar month, which falls on January 24 in 2001.
Venue: All over China
Origin: Spring Festival originated in the sacrificial ceremony held shortly after the winter solstice during the early Xia Dynasty (21st-16th century BC), when China was still in the primitive society. The ritual was designed to repay the blessings of the god and celebrate bumper harvests. Today, it has become the foremost of all traditional festivals for the Chinese people.
What¡¯s On: Right before the festival sets in, people are already busy grocery shopping, making new clothes, paying tribute to the Kitchen God and ancestors, preparing the family reunion banquet, pasting New Year couplets on gateposts or door panels, and pinning up New Year paintings on walls. During the festival, they visit each other and exchange New Year¡¯s greetings. Firecrackers are let off to liven up the atmosphere. A lot of dining and wining takes place during the festival, and every family make and eat New Year¡¯s cakes (made of glutinous rice flour), dumplings and sweet dumplings. There are dragon, lion, and yangge dances and lantern shows in both urban and rural areas, as merry-makers bid farewell to old year and wish for a good beginning in the new year, exorcise evil spirits and pestilence, and pray for good harvests and good luck in the new year.
Papercuts: During Spring Festival, many families decorate the window panes of their houses with pleasant-looking papercuts portraying Chinese opera characters, flowers, birds, insects and fish.
New Year Couplets: New Year couplets, written on strips of red paper, are a major part of the Chinese Spring Festival custom. On the lunar New Year¡¯s Eve, families in urban and rural areas alike make it a point to grace their gate posts or door panels with couplets composed of two sentences which match each other in sound and sense to express their cherished wishes.
New Year¡¯s Paintings: New Year¡¯s paintings are a branch of Chinese folk art which draws inspirations from such things as bumper harvests, prosperity, landscape, flowers and birds, buffaloes, and babies. During the festival, the Chinese love to pin up a few New Year¡¯s paintings on their living room walls to bid farewell to the old year and greet the new.
Jiaozi: Jiaozi, or dumplings, is a typical Chinese food. It is the habit of people living in north China to celebrate festivals by making and eating dumplings. On New Year¡¯s Eve entire families would gather to chat while preparing dumplings. Afterwards they would stay up late or all night to see the old year out and the New Year in.
Time: 15th day of the 1st lunar month, which falls on February 19 in 2000, February 7 in 2001.
Venue: All over China.
Origin: The Lantern Festival has its origin in the Han Dynasty. King Wen of the Western Han Dynasty officially designated the 15th day of the 1st lunar month as Lantern Festival, and during the reign of King Wu of the Han Dynasty, the Chinese began to celebrate this festival with lantern shows. During the Yongping reign of the Eastern Han Dynasty, King Ming, in an effort to promote Buddhism, ordered that lanterns be lit up in palaces and monasteries at night as tribute to the Buddha. Aristocrats and commoners alike were asked to hang lanterns at the front gates of their houses. Hence the name, Lantern Festival. The practice gradually became part of the Chinese folklore and is celebrated in pomp and pageantry. During the Song Dynasty, ¡°yuan xiao¡±, a kind of dumplings made of glutinous rice flour and sweet stuffing, were invented. Such dumplings are boiled in water until they float. They are made exclusively in celebration of the Lantern Festival, which is also called ¡°Yuanxiao Festival¡±.
Zigong Lantern Show
Time: Early February ¨C Early March
Venue: Zigong, Sichuan Province.
Origin: As early as the Tang Dynasty, the people of Zigong were already putting on lantern displays during Spring Festival. The custom remains alive and kicking till this day. The municipal government of Zigong makes it a point to sponsor a traditional lantern show every year during the Spring Festival.
What¡¯s On: During the show, a ¡°dragon¡± pieced together with porcelain dinner-sets, and a ¡°peacock¡± fashioned out of glass drug bottles strung together, are displayed along with thousands of lanterns. The lanterns, which as a rule are marked by superb craftsmanship, are woven of thin bamboo strips and covered with colorful silk fabrics or paper; they are grouped into several hundred clusters to form a spectacular show of forms, colors, lights, movements and sounds. During the show commodities fairs and business talks are also held.
Qintong Boat Festival in Yangzhou
Time: April 4-6 every year.
Venue: Qintong Town, Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province.
What¡¯s On: This is a typical folklore activity. During the festival boats from nearby fishing villages converge at Qintong Town for a few days of rejoicing. Theatrical performances, dragon and lion dances, and other folk dances are staged right on board the boats. Boat races are also part of the festivity.
Spring Flower Fair
Time: 28th-30th of the 12th lunar month, which falls on February 2-4 in 2000.
Venue: Guangzhou, Guangdong Province
Origin: During the Qianlong and Jiaqing reigns of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), tea sales flourished, and the demand for flowers as ingredients for the making of flower tea snowballed, thereby providing a great impetus to flower cultivation in China. During the Xianfeng and Tongzhi reigns, flower fairs emerged in some cities. During the fairs the streets were lined with booths selling such flowers as water lily and lilac, which bloom in summer; osmanthus and nandina which come out in autumn and red maple; and magnolia and winter jasmine which come into full glory in late winter. Today, all these flowers can be seen at the Guangzhou Spring Flower Fair, which takes place on New Year¡¯s Eve. For Guangzhou residents the Flower Fair is part of Spring Festival celebrations.
What¡¯s On: Prior to the Spring Festival, farmers ship flowers into the city from suburbs, and lay them out in a number of streets. During the festival, local residents, old and young, take to the streets to see the flowers. When they return home they bring some of the flowers to decorate their houses. A journey down the flower-bedecked streets is like homecoming to nature.
Water Splashing Festival
Time: April 13-15 every year.
Venue: Jinghong, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province.
Origin: Legend has it that there once lived a demon king who was wreaking havoc in Xishuangbanna by taking seven young women as his wives against their will. The women finally rose in rebellion and killed the demon king, thereby ridding the area of a scourge. However, the chopped head of the demon king kept rolling, causing fire in its trail, and the fire could be put out only when one of the women held it in her arms. Thus the seven women took turns holding the demon head once a year. When one woman¡¯s turn was over, the local people would splash water on her, so as to rinse her of the blood and expel the evil spirits out of her; the gesture was also an expression of gratitude for the women for keeping the local people from harm¡¯s way. With the passing of time, the demon king¡¯s head was finally burned to ashes. Splashing water on each other, however, has gradually evolved into part of local custom.
What¡¯s On: Dragon boat races, the firing of indigenous missiles, dances to the accompaniment of the beating of drums on a pedestal shaped like an elephant¡¯s legs, peacock dances, sightseeing, country fairs, and water-splashing festivities. During the festival pouches are tossed between unmarried men and women as tokens of love.
Hainan Int¡¯l Coconut Festival
Time: 3rd day of 3rd lunar month each year.
Venue: Hainan Province: Haikou, Wenchang County, Tongshi, and Sanya.
Origin: The coconut tree is the emblem of the Hainan Island, known also as ¡°Coconut Island.¡± On April 3-8, 1992, the provincial government held the first Hainan International Coconut Festival to show what was being done in Hainan as a special economic zone. Since then the International Coconut Festival has become an annual event, during which time the island province¡¯s coconut-associated cultural heritage and ethnic habits and customs are displayed. Business talks are also held during the festival.
What¡¯s On: Lantern display in the Coconut City, the Coconut Street, gala celebrations among ethnic Li and Miao people, international dragon boat racing, ethnic martial contest, variety shows, weddings in Li and Miao traditions, and sacrifices to ancestors.
Luoyang Peony Festival
Time: April 15-25 every year.
Venue: Luoyang, Henan Province
Origin: ¡°The peony of Luoyang is the most beautiful under heaven¡±, as the saying goes. The peony, the emblem flower of Luoyang, is lauded as ¡°queen of flowers with ethereal color and celestial fragrance.¡± Since the Tang Dynasty no Chinese city has been able to rival Luoyang in growing peonies. Growing the peony and marveling at it has, in fact, long been a local obsession. Of the 500,000 peony shrubs in 350-odd strains that are cultivated in Luoyang, the yaohuang (Yao¡¯s yellow peony) and weizi (Wei¡¯s purple peony) are the ¡°king¡± and ¡°queen¡± of all peonies. The first Luoyang Peony Festival took place on April 15-25 in 1983; since then it has become a major annual event.
What¡¯s On: Full-length variety shows, flower watching, lantern show, exhibitions of traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting and photography, symposiums, and business talks. At the Wangcheng Park and the Botanical Garden, banquets are arranged for peony admirers, and all kinds of snacks and refreshments are served as well.
Goddess Mazu Festival
Time: April 25 and October 4 every year.
Venue: Meizhou Island in Putian, Fujian Province
Origin: Mazu was born Lin Muniang in 960 AD, or, to be exact, the 23rd of the 3rd lunar month of the 1st year of the Jianlong reign of the Song Dynasty, and died on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month at the age of 28. As a philanthropist she offered medical service for fellow islanders, and with her weather forecasting ability she saved many fishermen from the menace of typhoons. Touched by her good and moral deeds, the local people deified her as Angel of the Sea and Holy Mother who could bring blessings to them. A temple was built and dedicated to her memory on the Meizhou Island, so that islanders could offer sacrifices to her.
What¡¯s On: The 23rd day of the 3rd lunar month is the birthday of Goddess Mazu, and the 9th day of the 9th lunar month her death anniversary. On both dates the Temple of Mazu is thronged with thousands of pilgrims, many of them from Taiwan, who come to pay homage to the goddess.
Weifang Int¡¯l Kite Festival
Time: April 20-25 every year
Venue: Weifang, Shandong Province
Origin: With a kite-making history of 600 years, Weifang is known throughout the world as one of China¡¯s three major kite-making schools along with Beijing and Tianjin. Unmatched artisanship and diverse subject matter that draws heavily from local folk life characterize Weifang Kite. Since 1984 Weifang has been the site of an annual international kite festival, which attracts numerous visitors from every nook and cranny of the world. During the fanfare the sky of the city is swarmed with kites ingeniously designed and colorfully decorated. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Weifang has been lauded by kite fans as ¡°capital of the world of kites.¡± The International Kites Federation is headquartered in Weifang.
What¡¯s On: The opening ceremony at which the first batch of kites will take off, international and domestic kite competitions, selection of the ten best kites, visit to a kite museum, folk art performances at Yangjiabu, and shopping.
Dragon Boat Festival
Time: 5th day of the 5th lunar month
Venue: All over Chin
Origin: During the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet of the state of Chu, was removed from office and sent into exile by the duke of Chu. In sorrow, Qu took a stone in his embrace and drowned himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. The local people wrapped glutinous rice in mugwort leaves and threw it into the river to lure the shrimps, fish and crabs away from the remains of the deceased poet. With the passing of time the practice of throwing rice into the river as a sacrifice to Qu Yuan gradually evolved into a custom.
What¡¯s On: To show their respect for the great patriotic poet, the Chinese make it a point to mark the anniversary of his death by eat ing zongzi, a pyramid-shaped dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves, and holding dragon boat races. Tourist activities are organized in various parts of the country, but the celebrations in the city of Miluo are most fascinating. The International Dragon Boat Festival held in June 10-14 annually in Yueyang, Hunan Province, is perhaps the most famous known in China. More than 20 dragon boat teams from the United States, Canada, Australia, and countries and regions in Southeast Asia attend the racing and demonstration shows every year.
Guizhou Azalea Festival
Time: April 8-25
Venue: Baihuaping in Bijie Prefecture¡¯s Aianxi County
Origin: A vast stretch of azaleas is found where Qianxi and Dafang counties in Guizhou Province¡¯s Bijie Prefecture share the same boundary. The flowers in the Pudi Azalea Zone of Dafang County and the Jinpo Azalea Zone of Qianxi County are the most famous. There the azalea begins to bloom in March, reaches its full glory in April, and continues into May, so that for three months a year, the heavily wooded place is taken over by a riot of color and becomes a veritable natural flower garden rarely seen anywhere in this world. The Azalea Festival, which was first started in 1993, is an annual event in Guizhou.
What¡¯s On: The opening ceremony, folk art performances by the ethnic Yi, Miao and Buyi people, a lantern show in Qianxi County, bell-ringing dances, dances to the accompaniment of reed pipes, and bull and chicken fights. Tourists are welcome to attend carnivals by a bonfire and tempt their palate with local delicacies.
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Qinghai Folk Song Festival
Time: 8th day of the 4th lunar month, 6th day of the 6th lunar month, and 15th of the 7th lunar month.
Venue: Xining, Qinghai
Origin: Hua¡¯er refers to folk songs popular among the ethnic Hui, Dongxiang and Baoan peoples in Qinghai Province. Love is a major theme of such songs, which are characterized by sweet, soul-stirring tunes, rich and varied motifs, and an unmistakable idyllic flavor. After the 5th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, ¡°hua¡¯er¡± festivals are held in many places in Qinghai, and local singers take this opportunity to sing their life, labor, love and ideals in a most infatuating way. The folk song festival, which takes place on the 6th day of the 6th lunar month at Lianhuashan, Xining, is so famous that it eventually became an annual weeklong event.
What¡¯s On: During the festival, tens of thousands of Hui, Dongxiang and Baoan folk singers and onlookers gather at Lianhuashan for round after round of singing. Other activities include mountaineering, theatrical performances, trade fairs, and the farewell ceremony.
Wutai Mountain Tourist Month
Time: July 25-August 25 every year
Venue: Taihuai Town, Wutai County, Shanxi Province
Origin: Since ancient times, the Wutai Mountain has been a site of temple fairs. With the passing of time, these temple fairs have gradually evolved into the Wutai Mountain International Tourist Month, which sets the stage for displaying the Wutai Mountain as one of China¡¯s four major Buddhist mountain sanctuaries and its wealth of ancient sites and cultural artifacts.
What¡¯s On: Large-scale Buddhist ritualistic ceremonies, folk art activities, and a large mule and horse fair. During the month, the entire mountain is enshrouded in the mystery of a religious atmosphere, as monks from all over the country gather at Taihuai Town performing Buddhist rites to save the souls of the dead and chanting Buddhist sutras. The event gives the traveler an excellent opportunity to visit the architecture of the cluster of temples and monasteries on the Wutai Mountain, and learn something about local habits and customs.
Nadam Tourist Festival
Time: Around July 15 every year
Venue: Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
Origin: In Mongolian the word ¡°nadam¡± means ¡°amusement and entertainment.¡± The Nadam Festival is a traditional occasion for Mongols to get together for a few days of festivity. In the past, herdsmen in the region gathered in summer to sacrifice to celestial beings and amuse themselves in celebration of a thriving animal husbandry. Later, the Nadam Festival has become a ten-day event at the banner or sumu level during the summer-autumn interregnum. Now the festival has acquired a new name, ¡°Nadam Grassland Tourist Festival¡±.
What¡¯s On: Horse racing, archery, and wrestling; the Mani Festival, Yuan-dynasty imperial banquets, wedding in the ethnic Erdos style, sacrificial rituals at Genghis Khan¡¯s mausoleum, tours of the Hot Spring Forest, Mongolian folklore show; and business activities.
Yunnan Yi Torch Festival
Time: The 24th ¨C26th days of the 6th lunar month.
Venue: Shucun Town of the Lunan Yi Autonomous County, and the city of Chuxiong in the Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province
Origin: According to a legend among the Yi people in Lunan, once upon a time there lived a demon king who terrorized the local people. During an uprising the local people bound torches to the horns and hind legs of a herd of goats and eliminated the demon king by lighting the torches and driving the goats into its lair. On the 24th day of the 6th lunar month the local people lit torches for an entire night¡¯s merry-making in celebration of the victory.
What¡¯s On: Archery, horse racing, bull fights, and wrestling. Torch-holding dances around a bonfire at night.
Qingdao Int¡¯l Beer Festival
Time: Mid-August every year.
Venue: Qingdao, Shandong Province
Origin: The Qingdao beer is renowned all over the world. The Qingdao International Beer Festival was first held in 1991, and has since become an annual event, which takes place at the Qingdao Tourist Resort.
What¡¯s On: Full-length variety shows, parades of artistic floats, fashion shows, fireworks display at the beach, sports competitions, a symposium on beer-making technology, and business talks.
Shoton Festival in Tibet
Time: August (From the end of the 6th month to the beginning of the 8th month according to the Tibetan calendar).
Venue: Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region
Origin: In the Tibetan language the word ¡°shoton¡± means ¡°yogurt banquet.¡± The Shoton Festival has its beginning prior to the 17th century. By Buddhist discipline, monks are confined in their monasteries for several dozen days until summer is over. The day the ¡°confinement¡± is over the local people treat the monks to banquets, at which yogurt is served liberally.
What¡¯s On: ¡°Sunning the Buddha¡± (giant tangkha-portraits of the Buddha are brought out of the monasteries and unfolded in the sun for public display), Tibetan opera performances, and trade fairs.
Xinjiang Grape Festival
Time: April 20-26 every year
Venue: Turpan, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
Origin: Grape cultivation in the world-famous city of Turpan dates back to more than 2000 years ago. Of the 100-odd grain strains in Turpan, the seedless white grapes, dubbed ¡°green pearls of China,¡± are the most precious. The raisin and wine produced in Turpan are known for their lingering good tastes. Most of Turpan¡¯s grapes are grown in the renowned Grape Valley, or ¡°Pearl City in the Desert.¡± The Xinjiang Grape Festival was first launched in 1990 and has since become an annual event in Turpan.
What¡¯s On: Wedding in the Uygur style, mashlap (lively and humorous folk dance), nazkum (witty art performance), Koco-style songs and dances, Hami-melon competition, trade negotiations, tour of the Street of Grapes and Melons, and camel caravans reminiscent of the Silk Road more than 2,000 years ago.
Shaolin Int¡¯l Martial Arts Festival
Time: September 10-15 every year
Venue: Zhengzhou, Henan Province
Origin: The worldwide fame of the 1,500-year-old Shaolin Temple is attributed to its consummate martial arts dating back more than a thousand years to the Tang Dynasty. During the Five Dynasties (907-960 AD), monks in the temple had already devised more than 100 styles of boxing. By the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) the Shaolin martial arts reached its zenith. The city of Dengfeng, where the temple is situated, has become a center of martial arts. In 1991 the first Zhengzhou International Martial Arts Festival was held to carry forward the heritage of Chinese martial arts and promote local tourist and economic development. The Festival is held once a year.
What¡¯s On: A good variety of Shaolin martial arts performances and contests, and exchanges between martial arts from around the world. A cruise on the Yellow River gives some idea about the landscape and folklore along this mighty river.
Dalian Int¡¯l Fashion Festival
Time: Early September every year
Venue: Dalian, Liaoning Province
Origin: The first Dalian Fashion Show was held in 1988. Renamed Dalian International Fashion Festival in 1991, it is a showcase of the latest developments in world fashion, presented by companies from various countries and regions. The general tendency for east and west to mingle offers a new impetus for the prosperity of fashion designs and the garment-making industry, and provides an entirely new aesthetic experience for mankind.
What¡¯s On: Large-scale variety shows in the open, an international garment exhibition, negotiations on the export of Chinese garments, a grand competition of up-and-coming Chinese fashion designers, and parades and performances of models.
Zhangjiajie Int¡¯l Forest Festival
Time: Two or three days beginning from September 18 each year.
Venue: Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province.
Origin: Zhangjiajie with its unmatched natural beauty is China¡¯s first state forest reserve. The Wulingyuan district in the reserve is of superb scientific and aesthetic value, where there are bounteous scenic spots, the ecology is well protected, and the forms of 3,103 quartzite pillars shimmering in an ocean of shifting mists. With a 97 percent forest cover, Zhangjiajie is home to a good variety of rare and precious animals.
What¡¯s On: Tour of forests, geological study tour, rafting the Maoyan River, international mountaineering invitational tournament, cliff mounting competitions, as well as art performances, qigong shows and cliff climbing stunts by local Tujia villagers.
Qufu Int¡¯l Confucian Festival
Time: September 26-October 10 every year.
Venue: Qufu, Shangdong Province.
Origin: Confucius, a celebrated thinker and educator, was born on the 27th day of the 8th lunar month (towards the end of September in 551 BC in Qufu. Since ancient times, the anniversary of his birth has been marked in Qufu in the pomp and pageantry of sacrificial rituals. Since 1984 the local tourist authorities have launched a tour of the native place of Confucius on his birthday, to the delight of travelers from at home and abroad. In 1989, the program was renamed International Confucian Festival.
What¡¯s On: A grand ceremony to offer libation and sacrifices to Confucius, performances of music and dance in tribute to Confucius, exhibition on the life and accomplishments of Confucius, calligraphic show, the Confucian mansion, temple and forest (graveyard), Nishan (where the sage was born), and thematic tours designed to acquaint visitors with Confucius¡¯ academic activities, the wedding customs in his hometown and the cuisine of his family kitchen.
Time: 15th day of the 8th lunar month
Venue: All over China
Origin: During the Zhou Dynasty (16th-11th centuries BC), the night of the full moon was an occasion for the Chinese to hold rituals to greet the cool weather and sacrifice to the Goddess of the Moon. By the Tang Dynasty (618-907) moon-watching and merry-making had become part of the ritual. During the Northern Song (960-1127), the 15th day of the 8th lunar month was designated as Mid-Autumn Festival. When night falls, the orb of the moon hangs full in the firmament, shedding a flood of silvery light over the land, while family members in China gather for the happiness of reunion, munching moon cakes and marveling at the chastened glory of the Goddess of the Moon. By Chinese custom the 15th day of the 8th lunar month is a day for family reunion as symbolized by the full moon and the moon cake.
What¡¯s On: Ceremonies to make libation and sacrifices to the moon, and watching the moon while enjoying moon cakes. There is always something dream-like and romantic about Mid-Autumn Festival, on account of its close association with such Chinese fables as Chang¡¯e fleeing to the moon, the man Wu Gang performing the unending servitude to cutting an osmanthus tree, and the Jade Rabbit pounding medicinal herbs with a pestle. For men of letters the festival is an occasion to get together, improvise poems over a cup of wine and recite them to each other.
Mt. Huangshan Festival
Time: October every year.
Venue: Huangshan, Anhui Province.
Origin: The first Huangshan International Tourist Festival took place on October 25-30, 1991, and was attended by 103 tour operators and representative of travel services of the United States, Japan, Thailand, France, Germany, Singapore and other countries. A total of 500,000 people took part in the activities organized during the festival. The success of the festival not only won the heart of travelers from at home and abroad, but also expanded the worldwide reputation of Mount Huangshan and promoted local tourism. The local authorities, therefore, have designated it as an annual event.
What¡¯s On: Traditional lantern shows, folklore performances, tour of Mount Huangshan and ancient structures in Huizhou, tourist business talks, negotiations on attracting foreign investment, and commodity fairs.
Chang¡¯an Calligraphic Conference
Time: November every year.
Venue: Xi¡¯an, Shaanxi Province.
Origin: The annual Chang¡¯an International Calligraphic Conference is an important national tourist program. For Shaanxi Province, it is also a large-scale activity involving foreign visitors. Since its inception, the conference has attracted calligraphers, calligraphic fans and tourists from all over the world. The conference is designed to publicize the image of Shaanxi Province and promote local tourism.
What¡¯s On: The grand opening ceremony, inscribing a 100-meter-long scroll, meetings of famous calligraphers from China and the rest of the world, calligraphy exhibition, auctions of works of calligraphy and paintings by famous Chinese artists. Each conference attracts nearly 1,000 calligraphers and tourists.
Jingdezhen Int¡¯l Ceramics Festival
Time: October 11-14 every year.
Venue: Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province.
Origin: A millennium in the making of porcelain ware has earned Jingdezhen the name ¡°Capital of Porcelain.¡± Elegant ornamentation, jade-like textures, and translucent walls ¨C these are reasons behind the superlative quality of porcelain products that bear the name Jingdezhen. The Jingdezhen International Ceramics Festival is organized to disseminate the Chinese ceramics technology and promote international exchange in ceramics.
What¡¯s On: A grand international ceramics show, an exhibition of Jingdezhen porcelain products from the Tang Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty, an exhibition of ceramic works by famous contemporary artists, porcelain making demonstrations, tea ceremonies, international ceramics symposium, business activities, etc. There are also tours of the city¡¯s ceramics industry, including porcelain-making technology of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and ruins of ancient kilns, and ceramics study tours.
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Time: January 5-February 5 every year.
Venue: Harbin, Heilongjiang Province.
Origin: With 190-day freezing season, the northeastern city of Harbin is known as a ¡°City of Ice¡± and a cradle of the ice-and-snow culture in the world. The long and frigid winter, and the high plasticity and hardness of ice blocks quarried from the Songhua River, furnish favorable conditions for ice and snow sculpture. On January 5, 1985, the first Harbin Ice and Snow Festival was unveiled. Since then it has become an annual event, which is highly acclaimed around the world. Harbin was also the venue of the Third Asian Winter Sports Tournament.
What¡¯s On: Ice lantern show, snow sculpture display, and international ice and snow sculpture competitions; winter swimming, ice hockey, speed-skating, alpine skiing, and cross-country skiing competitions; and ice and snow film festival exhibitions of paintings, calligraphy and photograph, folklore shows, ethnic song and dance parties, weddings on an ice-covered river. A participation in the ice-snow festival can be compared to a visit to a fairyland of crystal palace.
The Corban Festival
Time: The 10th day of the month of Dul Hajah (the 12th month on the Islamic Calendar).
Venue: Areas with large Hui, Uygur and Kazakh communities.
Origin: According to Arabic legend, Ibrahim was a pious follower of Allah. Once, in a dream, Ibrahim got Allah¡¯s divine message for him to slaughter his own son as a sacrifice. When he was about to carry out the order, a messenger sent by Allah descended with a goat, and asked Ibrahim to sacrifice the goat instead of his own son. Since then the Muslims have been marking the day by slaughtering goats for the sake of safety. This gradually evolved into the Corban, a festival for slaughter goats.
What¡¯s On: During the festival the Muslims gather in the mosque for prayers and a ceremony to slaughter the animals. Then families begin to celebrate by slaughtering cattle, goats and camels and treating friends with the meat, and the dinner table is enshrouded in a fraternal atmosphere. In Xinjiang, the various ethnic minorities celebrate the Corban by singing and dancing, and taking part in such games as scrambling for a goat, horse racing, and young women chasing after men for love and fun.