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More than 10,000 red lanterns are now hanging in Ditan Park in Beijing to welcome the coming Spring Festival. Jiang Dong


Left: A salesman demonstrates Beijing's traditional way of selling products at Daoxiangcun, one of the capital's oldest brand name food stores. Luo Wei  Right: Children learn how to make radish dim sum in the shapes of rats to celebrate the Chinese Lunar Year in Hong Kong. AFP


Visiting traditional temple fairs is routine for many Chinese celebrating the nation's most important holiday. This Spring Festival, locals can expect something different. As the 2008 Games approaches, the Beijing Olympics has become the highlight of almost all the temple fairs in the capital. Besides the red lanterns, the five Games mascots will be seen roaming everywhere at the temple fairs.


At Longtanhu Park, in southern Beijing, visitors can try all the 28 Olympic sports, such as football, says Hu Xiangjun, the park supervisor.


Also, there is an Olympics culture center, where people can learn Games history, culture and etiquette. Near every park gate, a 50 m-long wall will show off pictures of all the Olympic champions.


At the Lotus Pond Temple Fair, visitors will be invited to guess how many gold metals China will win during the Games.


China Millennium Monument Spring Festival Culture Temple Fair will display models of the venues of Beijing Olympics.


Left: A young woman shows her fingernails, which are painted with auspicious images, in Xianyang, Shaanxi province. He Jianhu  Right: A 15-feet-tall golden rat stands at the MegaBox, a shopping mall in Kowloo, Hong Kong. China News Agency


"I'm looking forward to getting a close touch with the Olympics in the temple fairs," says Wang Ya, a college student.


Besides the theme of the Olympics, some temple fairs also try something else.


Ditan Park Temple Fair will invite Hello Kitty to perform and take photos with visitors, as a warm-up for the upcoming Hello Kitty's Dream Light Fantasy China Premiere in Beijing next month.


For singles, the temple fair in Shijingshan Amusement Park could be an ideal place to find their lifelong partner at a large-scale matchmaking party. More than 10,000 white-collar professionals are expected to participate in speed dating, says Jiao Yang, organizer of the party.


In Beijing's neighbor Tianjin, residents will have a lot of fun in the temple fair to be held in the Water Park.


According to the organizer, 600 master folk artists will perform their skills in magic and acrobatics.


Left: Villagers in Rizhao, Shandong province, make steamed bread of various shapes to celebrate the New Year. The villagers call the bread "huamo", or "fl ower-shaped steamed bread". Chen Weifen Right: A saleswoman wearing red envelops on her head is busy peddling her wares in Taipei, Taiwan province. Chinese tradition holds people should present gift envelops to relatives and friends during Spring Festival. Liu Zonglong


You Fuwei (left) gets a photo taken with his wife and son. You, a worker at the construction site of the subway in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, decides to spend his holiday in Hangzhou rather than in his hometown in Henan. Because of the bad weather in South China, many migrant workers must stay where they work. Xu Yu


(China Daily February 5, 2008)


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