Fengting's enigmatic Zaoli dance captivates during New Year celebration

By HU MEIDONG | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-02-21 16:59
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Dancers perform the Zaoli dance to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in the town of Fengting, Xianyou county of Putian city in Fujian province. [Photo by Cai Hao/For chinadaily.com.cn]

In the town of Fengting, Xianyou county of Putian city in Fujian province, dancers celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year and the coming Lantern Festival with a unique charm that dates back over seven centuries.

The Zaoli dance, which involves green-faced masks and bamboo staffs, stands out from the serene imagery typically associated with traditional festivals during the first month of the lunar year.

Legend has it that during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), a local aristocrat named Lin Heng returned to his hometown in joy after achieving the top academic honor. In response, Zaoli dancers spontaneously performed, giving rise to the tradition of performing the Zaoli dance ever since.

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