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Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.
Temple Fairs in Beijing

Temple fairs are a Beijing custom that dates back to the Liao Dynasty (916-1125). In the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), the bustling temple fair in Chenghuangmiao (Temple of the City God) Street -- present-day Chengfang Street -- Became particularly famous. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), temple fairs became widespread, and under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) their numbers further increased. After the Revolution of 1911, however, large permanent markets were established and temple fairs gradually disappeared.

Temple fairs were said to have their origins in the ancient "she sacrifice." A she was where sacrifices to the local God of Earth were offered. Altars of the Gods of Earth and Grain were also known as Earth Temples. It is from gatherings that took place at these temples that temple fairs derived their name.

In Beijing, temple fairs were held in turn every 10 days at the Earth Temple, the Flower Market, the White Pagoda Temple, the Huguo (Protect the Nation) Temple and the Longfu (Intense Happiness) Temple. There was also the annual Changdian (Factory Grounds) Fair held during the first 15 days of the first lunar month and the annual Pantaogong (Peach of Immortality Palace) Fair held from the third day of the third lunar month inside the Dongbianmen (Eastern Informal) Gate. The fairs mentioned above took place regularly for over 300 years.

The Longfu Mansion, established more than 30 years ago, stands on the site of the old Longfu (Intense Happiness) Temple. The temple, built during the reign of Emperor Jingtai of the Ming Dynasty in 1452, had the largest pair of temple gates in Beijing. The temple was composed of five courtyards, each with a large central hall connected by long galleries. A large part of the temple was destroyed in 1900 when the Eight-power Allied Forces invaded Beijing.

Visitors to the temple fairs included both city folk and peasants from the outlying regions. Customers could buy a variety of locally made products such as "Gold Elephant Zhang's" double-edged combs, "Iron Knife Liu's" fruit knives and "Sanheju" wigs, as well as second-hand clothes, jewelry and cloth, bamboo and wicker products, flowers, birds, fish and insects. Nowadays, the Longfu Bazaar, with an area of over 4,700 square meters, is one of the biggest shopping centers in Beijing.

The Changdian Fair was a favorite outing for Beijing residents during the lunar New Year (Spring Festival). Changdian was a small street with only 10 or so houses, but each year at the Spring Festival it, along with the adjacent Liulicahng Street, Xinhua Road, the Lu Dongbin Hall (Luzudian), the Jade Emperor Pavilion and the Shatu (Sandy Soil) Gardens, became a large market. In pre-Ming times, this area was a tiny village in a sparsely populated tract of countryside known since the Liao Dynasty as the Village of the King of the Sea. By the time of Emperor Jiajing (reigned 1521-1566), this area had already begun to grow. Chosen in 1553 for the imperial Glazed Tile Works, its name became Liulichang Changdian (Glazed Tile Works Grounds). In the Qing Dynasty, the tile works was moved to a site near the Western Hills, but the streets named Liulichang and Changdian remained and the area developed into a public market.

The Changdian Fair, held in the first lunar month, drew people from all parts of the city to buy and sell paintings and calligraphic works, antiques, articles for daily use, children's toys, food products and seasonal fruit and vegetables. In addition, entertainment was provided in the form of acrobatics, conjuring and operas.

After the founding of the Republic of China in 1912, trade in antiques at the Changdian Fair increased markedly. With the downfall of the Qing, former residents of the Imperial Palace, as well as princes, nobles and the descendants of deposed officials whose wealth and position were declining came to sell off their treasures. They found keen buyers among the emerging class of wealthy warlords, bureaucrats and politicians who were eager to pose as lovers of culture. Many foreigners also showed great interest in Chinese antiques.

According to rough statistics available on the 1931 Spring Festival Fair at Changdian, of a total of about 1,000 stalls, some 300 dealt in antiques and jade, over 200 in toys and novelties and over 100 in food products. In addition, there were over 100 stalls selling daily necessities and 200 that sold miscellaneous goods. Businessmen from overseas also realized the potential of the Changdian Fair as a market for their products. By 1935, of the 100 stalls at the fair dealing in toys and novelties, 80 were selling Japanese goods.

After 1949, the Changdian Fair continued to operate each year at Spring Festival. The 1963 fair were the largest since the founding of the People's Republic of China with over 750 stalls attracting over 4 million visitors.

Beijing's Temple Fair Information for 2006

Ditan Park Fair

Add: 100 meters north of the Lama Temple or Lama Temple Subway Station.

Traffic: Yonghegong (Lama Temple) subway, Bus No.s 13, 116 and 62 for the south gate; Bus No.s 27, 104, 108, 358, 119, 407, 328, 803 or 912 for the west gate. Also accessible from Andingmen subway station.

Fair time: January 28 to February 4.

Entry ticket: 8 yuan.

Changdian Temple Fair

Add: Liulichang Jie, Xuanwu District.

Fair time: January 29 to February 3
Entry ticket: Free.

Baiyunguan Temple Fair

This is the grandest temple fair of west downtown. Baiyunguan is a Taoist temple that is more than 1,000 years old and now hosts the only fair actually held within a temple.

Add: Xibianmenwai, Xicheng District.

Traffic: Take Bus No.s 320 or 414 to Baiyunguan Station or 114, 308 or 937 to Baiyunlu.

Fair time: January 29 to February 3.

Entry ticket: 10 yuan.

Longtanhu Temple Fair

Fair events here are very similar to those in Ditan. There will be various interactive competitions inviting visitors to join in arm-wrestling, rock climbing and chess playing. This year's temple fair in Longtanhu will also be highlighted by the "2008 Beijing Olympics" theme.

At the same time, the "2006 Spring Festival Carnival" will be held in nearby Beijing Amusement Park. Expect it to be similar to the World Carnival but without the entrance fee.

Add: Zuoanmennei Dajie, Chongwen District.

Traffic: Bus No.s 807, 12, 6, 60 or 116 take you to the park.

Fair time: January 28 to February 4.

Entry ticket: 6 yuan.

Shijingshan Amusement Park

This will be a foreign-style temple fair. It is almost like a foreign carnival parade. A cinema of 4-dimensional movies will open alongside other events this year.

Traffic: Visitors can get to the park's south gate by taking the subway to Bajiao Youleyuan. The park is 100 meters west of the subway station.

Fair time: January 29 to February 4.

Entry ticket: 10 yuan.

Dongyue Temple Fair

Dongyue is one of the oldest temple fairs in Beijing, starting during the Yuan Dynasty and having its heyday during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Culture of "Good Fortune (福)" has been the essence of this temple fair for three centuries. Performances of lion dances and Dongyue temple music will be featured this year.

Traffic: Bus No.s 101, 109, 110, 112, 750, 846 or 813 to Shenlu Jie or 600 meters east of Chaoyangmen subway station (line 2).

Fair time: January 28 to February 4.

Entry ticket: 10 yuan.
Daguanyuan Temple Fair

This temple fair will be held at Grand View Park, a replica of the magnificent Daguanyuan garden of an imperial family described in the well-known Chinese novel A Dream of Red Mansions by Qing Dynasty writer Cao Xueqin (17l5-l763). Besides the traditional temple fair events, there will be shows of folk arts, extreme sports, Chinese kong-fu, Kaifeng Pan Drums as well as the "Two-people show" (Er Ren Zhuan) from northeastern China.

Traffic: Bus No.s 59, 19, 819, 56, 122 or 423 to Daguanyuan.

Fair time: January 29 to February 3.

Entry ticket: 10 yuan.

Lotus Pond Temple Fair

Located close to Beijing West Railway Station, the Lotus Pond (Lianhuachi) Park is regarded as the birthplace of the city of Beijing, bearing a history of over 3,000 years. The temple fair here is quite traditional, with more than 100 events going on to make the park an ideal place to enjoy Chinese folk arts and food.

Add: Lianhuachi Park

Traffic: Take Bus No.s 323, 324, 300, 368, Yuntong 103, 57, 1, 4, 964, 321 or 339 to Liuliqiao Beili and go north for 200 meters to reach the west gate of the park.

Bus No.s 309, 719, 620, 704, 122, 38, 927, 410, 715, 390, 917, 340, 6, 50 or T7 to Liuliqiao or Lianhuachi will also get your there.

Bus No.s 48, 937, 21, 52, 47, 823, 848, 320, 373, 609 or T1 will bring you to Beijing West Railway Station, through which you can pass through and exit from the station's south gate to come to the East Gate of the park.

Fair time: January 29 to February 3.

2006 Chaoyang International Carnival

Another foreign-style temple fair in Beijing, the 2006 Changyang International Carnival will offer performances by renowned bands from the UK and Russia. People can also go skiing, play games, and enjoy the food of various countries. This year's carnival will cooperate with local charity organizations so that people will be able to contribute to society while enjoying themselves with the diverse entertainment.

Add: Chaoyang Park

Traffic: Bus No.s 31, 302, 705, 731, 750, 752 or 852 to Chaoyang Park.

Fair time: January 29th to February 4th.

Entry ticket: 10 yuan.

(China.org.cn & Chinabroadcast January 28, 2006)

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