Beijing Temple Fair
By Wang Xi
It is a tradition to go to temple fairs during the Chinese Spring Festival or Chinese New Year celebrations. Beijing, as the culture capital of China, has a large number of temples. Temple fairs used to be an event of worship, in which people might pray for happiness, peace and luck. The modern temple fair has a wider variety of activities like worship, commercial trade, and recreation.
There are various traditions associated with worship in a temple. For example, people kneel down holding burning joss sticks and make a wish for health in the Palace of Life. Touching stone money may bring you the luck of a promotion at work. Offering a baby toy to the god of women may bring a boy. People have pure and simple wishes.
Trading in commodities is a major part of temple fairs. Many consider that shopping mascots and tasting traditional snacks are 'must do' activities at a temple fair. The old Beijing candied gourd, fried dumplings and tofu are some of the snacks available. Items like the mascot of the year and many more products are sold at temple fairs. Snacks vary from 5 RMB to 10 RMB. The price of commodities always drops down a lot on the last day of the temple fair event.
Temple recreational events include acrobatics, magic performances, Beijing Opera, quiz contests and bingo. Most of the shows are free while some charge a small fee if they are putting on higher quality performances. Special game coins need to be purchased for bingo. One coin costs 2 RMB. You need at least two coins to play any game.
This video shows the 2008 temple fair at the Temple of Earth in Beijing. The fair began on the 1st day and ended on the 7th day of the lunar calendar. Entrance tickets cost 10 RMB. Each year you will find a temple fair held at the Temple of Earth. The Temple of Earth is easy to access from the nearby subway station, Yonghegong (Lama Temple subway station).