Spring Festival an opportunity to experience traditions
Southeast of the Capital Museum is White Cloud Temple, known also as the Monastery of the White Clouds. It is Taoist and one of the "Three Great Ancestral Courts" of the Quanzhen School of Taoism. Dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), most current buildings actually date from the Ming and Qing periods (1368-1911). From its triple-entrance archway visitors or worshipers pass through a series of halls dedicated to different deities. Unlike the city's popular temple fairs, inside the courtyards there are no booths with things for sale. People visiting regularly participate in long-held traditions of finding health, happiness and good fortune. This involves touching a stone monkey embedded into a wall at the entrance while throwing coins below the decorative Wofeng Bridge. When I was last there, an oversized traditional round coin pierced by a square hole hung from the underside of the bridge. Visitors would throw small change towards the hole - if coins successfully passed through, maybe they would find the happiness they sought?