The Longhua Temple in Xuhui District is inviting visitors to make a new year wish by knocking the bell in the temple or tying a wish to the "auspicious tree" at the temple gate on December 31.
Knocking the bell will cost 318 yuan (US$43) but tying a wish to the tree is free, the Xuhui Tourism Administrative Bureau said yesterday.
The "auspicious tree," made of brass, looks like a lotus in bloom and is two meters high and 1.5 meters in diameter. One thousand "fu" characters in different fonts, which means "happiness" in Chinese, decorate the tree.
The tree will be lit up from 8pm on December 31 to February 21, the Lantern Festival. People can write their new year wish on a piece of red cloth, and tie it to the tree's branches.
Masters in the temple will welcome visitors that night, and the bell will ring out 108 times to welcome the new year. Admission to the temple will cost 200 yuan.
Officials said there would be a special area set aside for tourists in the temple, and newly designed light signs which are eye-catching, easy to read and traditional-looking in accord with the surrounding decoration.
The new year bell knocking is always the city's first tourism activity, and the event is popular with Japanese, South Korean and southeastern Asian tourists, said the bureau.
(Shanghai Daily December 24, 2007)