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Guidebook to 2007 Beijing Temple Fairs
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The spring holiday can be more than banquets with families and friends, lazing around on sofas watching TV soaps and surfing the Internet. There are plenty of activities that happen during the spring festival, such as temple fairs.

As an important form of folk economic and cultural activity, temple fairs are where people trade, entertain and worship. As the name suggests, the origin of temple fairs is closely related to temple activities. They used to be held only during temple festivals or special temple fair days and were complemented with some business activities. As time went by, the religious color of temple fair faded and temple fairs became more and more like flea markets for common folks.

In 2007 in Beijing, temple fairs will have many different themes, including the Olympics at Longtan Temple, traditional Chinese costume parades at Daguanyuan, a garden modeled after the garden in the classic Chinese novel A Dream of Red Mansions, and a spring festival folk culture exhibition at Yuyuantan Temple.

Longtan Temple Fair

This year's Longtan Temple Fair is taking the Olympics as its theme. Famous Chinese Weichi chess players Wang Runan, Hua Yigang and Xiejun will lead a team of brilliant Chinese chess players who will meet fans and play chess with them. Excellent judo and tae kwon do practitioners,, boxers and Olympic weightlifting gold medal winners Liu Chunhong, Shi Zhiyong and Wangxu will also have exchanges with sports fans.

Time: February 18- February 24
Location: Longtan Park, No.8, Longtanlu, Chongwen District
Tel: 010-67144336
Ticket: 10 yuan


Visitors attending the Daguanyuan Temple Fair will be able to see the annual Yuanfei Xingqin parade, in which people will wear traditional Chinese festival costumes. A traditional wedding ceremony (Baoyu chenghun) and a traditional birthday ceremony (jiamu heshou) will also be performed.

Some Chinese directors are planning to shoot the Chinese classic A Dream of Red Mansions as a soap opera and they have conducted a nationwide casting call. . Some of the candidates will also be present at this temple fair.

Time: February 18- February 23
Location: Daguanyuan (grand view garden), No.12 Nancaiyuanjie, Xuanwu District
Tel: 010-63544993/63544994
Ticket: 15 yuan

Yuyuantan Temple Fair

This temple fair features a display of Spring Festival Folk Culture including dancing and singing performances from provinces like Yunnan, Guangxi and Guizhou where many minority ethnic groups live.

People attending Yuyuantan Temple Fair may also have the chance to try various snacks from different parts of China. This temple fair will also include games to introduce visitors to the colorful prayer cultures of different minority ethnic groups.

Time: February 18- February 24
Location: to the north of the Military Museum, Fuxinglu, Haidian District
Tel: 010-68525536/63466341
Ticket: 5 yuan

Chaoyang Park Temple Fair

The temple fair at Chaoyang Park will have an international flavor. It will have nearly 100 foreign actors from Germany, France, the US, North Korea and Greece, staging performances that showcase their respective nationalities. Activities include foreign delicacies tasting, skiing, flower carts parade and kids cartoon games.

Chaoyang Park will also hold an interactive photo activity called 'Looking for the Most Beautiful Smiling Face in This City' in which visitors to the temple fair are invited to submit pictures of smiling faces.

Time: February 18- February 24
Location: No.1, Nongzhanguan Nanlu, Chaoyang District
Tel: 010-65915258
Ticket: 10 yuan

Ditan Temple Fair

The Ditan Temple Fair will focus on displaying spring festival folk culture. Lectures will be given on Beijing folk culture in addition to photo exhibitions and flower shows. Beijing's first temple fair mascot will be unveiled at the Ditan Temple Fair. It will be a cute, handmade, colorfully painted clay pig. The mascot will be sold in limited numbers. Visitors may also take pictures with the 1.8 meter high Olympic mascot in the Olympic Fuyuan. There is also a separate plaza dedicated to traditional sports games like diabolo, rope skipping and bag throwing.

Time: February 17- February 24
Location: Ditan Park, Andingmen Waidajie, Dongcheng District
Tel: 010-64214657
Ticket: 10 yuan

Tips for attending temple fairs

1. Try to avoid the peak time. Temple fairs are normally staged from 10am to 1pm. The peak occurs during January 1 and January 5 according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

2. Queue for your turn instead of pushing or crowding, especially at the entrances, exits, ticket selling booths and hot activity spots.

3. Keep an eye out for warning signs at the sights and be aware of the safety exits.

4. Don't step on ice without testing its strength first. When going over bridges or through tunnels, give priority to senior citizens and kids.

5. In case of an emergency, don't panic. Listen carefully to the staff's instructions and follow them.

( February 17, 2007)

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