They always seemed to be together in old times temples and markets, culture and business, the yin and yang of life.
But the temple fair tradition didn't make a comeback in China until the beginning of the reform in the early 1980s. That was when people began earning some extra cash to spend. Things such as dangerous acrobatic shows and fake Western paintings were enough to generate good sales.
In 20 years, as the once-ubiquitous, baggy Mao jackets disappeared from the cities, more color, more style, and more originality were brought into the tradition, and the fairs began spreading to more places and reaching more people.
(China Daily February 3, 2006)