Folk customs

1. Wuzhen Town God Fair

There is almost a local fair every month in the Tongxiang area, e.g. the January Lantern Fair, March Temple Fair, April Young Crops Fair, May General Wen Fair, July Town God Fair, and so on. Among those fairs, the Town God Fair is the busiest.

2. Greeting Five Gods

Traditionally, this is a ceremony to greet the five gods that guard the five directions – east, south, west, north and the center – on a road. Later, it became a ceremony greeting the five gods of fortune. In the old days, businesses would perform a ceremony on the fourth day of the Chinese Lunar New Year to worship the five gods, and then re-open for business the next day in the hope of receiving good luck and good fortune.

3. Market for Buddhist Pilgrims

This is a long-standing custom in Wuzhen. The size of this market is second only to the West Lake Market in Hangzhou. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, there were many Buddhist temples in Wuzhen, and therefore pilgrims. Street peddlers and theatrical troupes followed and it was they who created the market.

4. Tea Drinking

People in Wuzhen like their drink – tea, that is. In days gone by, the town used to have as many as sixty teahouses. Patrons were mostly farmers from nearby villages. Teahouses were an important place for socializing, where information was shared and public affairs processed.

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