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NW Beijing celebrates the Lantern Festival

[ 2009-02-10 09:53]     字号 [] [] []  
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The Lantern Festival traditionally marks the end of the Spring Festival. Here in the northwest of Beijing, people around the area are celebrating with folk Chinese performances.

The celebration is held to the day before the Lantern Festival, the 15th of the first month in the lunar calendar. Despite the cold weather, thousands of performers and people gather for the event. Although they are farmers from nearby towns, some of the groups have histories dating back to the Qing, or even Ming dynasties.

Starting at 9 o’clock in the morning, the show includes dragon and lion dancing, stilt walking, stick fighting, Chinese drumming, balancing a bamboo pole and folk dancing, all of which are traditional Chinese folk arts.

Bao Shixuan, an expert on Chinese folklore, said these kinds of performances, called Hua Hui in Chinese, are not only important during the festive season, but an integral part in the lives of the Chinese.

Bao Shixuan, Chinese folklore expert, Beijing Federation of Literary and Art Circles:

Hua Hui, originally called Xiang Hui in history, serves many functions. It can be performed to worship the gods in temple fairs, and it’s also a good festive celebration to enrich people’s lives, and to bring us happiness.

While it’s important to preserve these traditional folk art forms, the older generation admits it is getting harder to get young people interested in continuing to practice Hua Hui. Another reason is due to people spreading out and living in various parts of the city.

Zhao Baoqi, Head of a stick performing group:

My stick group was originally located around Xizhimen. But that district has been rebuilt, with many of my members moving away to other parts of Beijing in recent years. The original group has totally fallen apart. I myself moved too.

I can still gather my people together, but it takes a much longer time, because we are all far away from each other.

The show lasts until around noon, bringing joyous warmth to welcome the start of spring in the year of the Ox.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)