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Beijing's Temple Fair Information 2009

The "temple fair" (Miao Hui) began as groups of vendors who did business near temples when many pilgrims came to pay tribute to the gods during traditional festivals. The practice grew, gradually turning into a regular event. Now temple fairs are an important and joyful destination for Chinese people during festivals, most especially the Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year.

The temple fairs in Beijing date back to around 1000 AD, when they were called "Spring Outings", steadily booming throughout the following three dynasties of the Yuan, Ming and Qing emperors. Nowadays, going to temple fairs has become a Spring Festival routine for residents in Beijing. altThis year, nine local temple fairs will add more joy to your holidays.

In traditional temple fairs around Beijing, there are performances and booths demonstrating and selling traditional arts and crafts. The fairs have lots of games to play, food to eat, performances and lots of people. In the temple fair you can taste numerous kinds of local snacks, court food and other dishes.

Most temple fairs feature dragon and lion dances, waist drum dancing, lotus blossom fairy dances, ground and clam dancing as well as other folk performances, and some even stage traditional wedding ceremonies.

In rural areas, the temple fair is an excellent opportunity to capture some color in an otherwise fairly drab country.

For foreigners, temple fair is definitely a cultural experience, because it airs Chinese cultures from a very detailed perspective. While enjoying the samplings of Chinese delicacies, you can appreciate craftsmanship and artworks displayed by local artisans

Ditan Park Fair

One of the city's busiest temple fairs since 1985. Ditan Park is the site of the altar where sacrifices were formerly offered to the earth god. This year's fair will climax with a performance reenactment of a Qing Dynasty sacrificial ceremony.

Location: 100 meters north of the Lama Temple or Lama Temple Subway Station.
To get there: Yonghegong (Lama Temple) subway, bus 13, 116 and 62 for the south gate; trolley bus 104, 108, or bus 27, 358, 119, 407, 328, 803 or 912 for the west gate. Also accessible from Andingmen subway station.
Fair time: January 25th to February 1st.
Admission: 8 yuan (about 1.2 USD).

Baiyunguan Temple Fair

This is the grandest temple fair of west downtown. Baiyunguan is a Taoist temple that is more than 1,000 years old and now hosts the only fair actually held within a temple.

Location: Xibianmenwai, Xicheng District.
To get there: Take bus routes 320 or 414 to Baiyunguan Station or 114, 308 or 937 to Baiyunlu.
Fair time: January 25th to February 1st.
Admission: 10 yuan (about 1.5 USD)

Changdian Temple Fair

The Changdian Temple Fair is often a favorite outing for Beijing residents during the Lunar New Year. It is a particular draw for people to buy and sell paintings and calligraphic works, antiques, articles for daily use, children's toys, food products and seasonal fruit and vegetables. In addition, acrobatics, magic shows and opera are all provided for entertainment. This temple altfair is popular among foreigners.

Location: Liulichang Jie, Xuanwu District.
Fair time: January 26th to January 29th.
Admission: Free.

Longtanhu Temple Fair

Fair events here are very similar to those in Ditan. There will be various interactive competitions inviting visitors to join in arm-wrestling, rock climbing and chess playing. This year's temple fair in Longtanhu will also be highlighted by the "2008 Beijing Olympics" theme.

At the same time, the "2006 Spring Festival Carnival" will be held in nearby Beijing Amusement Park. Expect it to be similar to the World Carnival but without the entrance fee.

Location: Zuoanmennei Dajie, Chongwen District.
To get there: Bus routes 807, 12, 6, 60 or 116 take you to the park.
Fair time: January 25th to February 2nd.
Admission: 6 yuan (about 1 USD).

Shijingshan Amusement Park

This will be a foreign-style temple fair. It is almost like a foreign carnival parade. A cinema of 4-dimensional movies will open alongside other events this year.

To get there: Visitors can get to the park's south gate by taking the subway to Bajiao Youleyuan. The park is 100 meters west of the subway station.
Fair time: January 25th to February 1st.
Admission: 10 yuan (about 1.5 USD).

Dongyue Temple Fair

Dongyue is one of the oldest temple fairs in Beijing, starting during the Yuan Dynasty and having its heyday during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Culture of "Good Fortune (福)" has been the essence of this temple fair for three centuries. Performances of lion dances and Dongyue temple music will be featured this year.

To get there: Bus routes 101, 109, 110, 112, 750, 846 or 813 to Shenlu Jie or 600 meters east of Chaoyangmen subway station (line 2).
Fair time: January 26th to January 30th.
Admission: 10 yuan (about 1.5 USD).

Daguanyuan Temple Fair

This temple fair will be held at Grand View Park, a replica of the magnificent Daguanyuan garden of an imperial family described in the well-known Chinese novel A Dream of Red Mansions by Qing Dynasty writer Cao Xueqin (17l5-l763). Besides the traditional temple fair events, there will be shows of folk arts, extreme sports, Chinese kong-fu, Kaifeng Pan Drums as well as the "Two-people show" (Er Ren Zhuan) from Northeastern China.

To get there: Bus routes 59, 19, 819, 56, 122 or 423 to Daguanyuan.
Fair time: January 26th to January 30th.
Admission: 10 yuan (about 1.5 USD).

Lotus Pond Temple Fair

Located close to Beijing West Railway Station, the Lotus Pond (Lianhuachi) Park is regarded as the birthplace of the city of Beijing, bearing a history of over 3,000 years. The temple fair here is quite traditional, with more than 100 events going on to make the park an ideal place to enjoy Chinese folk arts and food.

Location: Lianhuachi Park
To get there: Take bus routes 323, 324, 300, 368, Yuntong 103, 57, 1, 4, 964, 321 or 339 to Liuliqiao Beili and go north for 200 meters to reach the west gate of the park. Bus routes Te 7, 309, 719, 620, 704, 122, 38, 927, 410, 715, 390, 917, 340, 6, 50 to Liuliqiao or Lianhuachi will also get your there. Bus routes 48, 937, 21, 52, 47, 823, 848, 320, 373, 609, Te 1 or 387 will bring you to Beijing West Railway Station, through which you can pass through and exit from the station’s south gate to come to the East Gate of the park.
Fair time: January 26th to February 31st.

Chaoyang International Carnival

Another foreign-style temple fair in Beijing, the 2006 Changyang International Carnival will offer performances by renowned bands from the UK and Russia. People can also go skiing, play games, and enjoy the food of various countries. This year's carnival will cooperate with local altcharity organizations so that people will be able to contribute to society while enjoying themselves with the diverse entertainment.

Location: Chaoyang Park
To get there: Bus routes 31, 302, 705, 731, 750, 752 or 852 to Chaoyang Park (Chaoyang Gongyuan).
Fair time: January 26th to February 31st.
Admission: 10 yuan (about 1.5 USD).

From: Foreigners in China 2009-1-27

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