The temple fair is a social gathering in China. Legend has it that it originated in ancient times when people offered sacrifices to village deities, and the ritual's location gradually evolved into a marketplace for people to exchange products as well as stage cultural performances.
At a temple fair, people worship the gods and pray for blessings while enjoying the festivities. Traditional shows such as xiangsheng (cross talk), banner shows, kung fu shows and lion dances all are staple features of the fair.
Beijing's temple fairs, which originated during the Liao Dynasty (916-1125 AD), are a part of celebrating the arrival of spring, and so, have evolved into part of the Chinese Lunar New Year festivities.
The following is the guide to the temple fairs in Beijing during the upcoming Spring Festival this year.
Temple of the Earth Fair
Dates: Feb 9-16, 2013
Venue: Temple of the Earth, Andingmenwai Street
Price: 10 yuan
Subway: Take Subway Line 2 to Yonghegong Station or Andingmen Station, or Subway Line 5 to Yonghegong Station or Hepingli Beijie Station.
Buses: Take 13, 116, 62, 44, 800, 606, 684 or Te 2 to the South Gate of the temple, 27, 358, 119, 407, 328, 803 or 18 to the West Gate of the park, or 125 or 117 to the East Gate of the temple.
Features: Known as one of Beijing's busiest and biggest temple fairs, the Temple of the Earth is the site of the altar where sacrifices were formerly offered to the earthly god. Activities include colorful folk performances, fashion shows, antiques, handicrafts and a food street. 200 excellent performances will be staged this year. Famous Chinese artists are invited to paint and write calligraphy works on the site to showcase the traditional culture.