Yuanmingyuan offers visitors a feast of lotuses

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CRI, July 9, 2014

The 19th Annual Lotus Festival opened at Yuanmingyuan on June 25th, 2014, drawing a large number of visitors. At this time of the year, the lotus flowers at Yuanmingyuan are in full bloom. [Photo:CRIENGLISH.com/ Dong Xinran]

Yuanmingyuan, also known as the Old Summer Palace, celebrated its 19th annual Lotus Festival on June 25th, 2014. During this two-month feast of lotuses, over 400 varieties of lotuses will be on display across 70 hectares of park space. The annual Yuanmingyuan Lotus Festival is one of the largest festivals of its kind and it has been listed as one of Beijing's top ten tourism and cultural activities.

At this very moment, the lotus flowers at Yuanmingyuan are in full bloom. The green lotus leaves stretch toward the horizon and the pink blossoms magnetize visitors with their delicate beauty. Even early Monday morning, the lotus festival still attracted a large number of local residents and tourists.

However, the Yuanmingyuan Lotus Festival offers far more than flowers. The festival features a variety of activities, such as a lotus-themed photo competition, an exhibition about lotus culture, as well as an imitation performance showing how Qing Dynasty emperors took part in ritualistic boat rides to appreciate the lotuses.

For this particular year, lotus flowers from different parks across Beijing will be "competing" in a beauty contest. Lotus flowers from Beihai Park, the Black Bamboo Park, the Lotus Pond Park, the Baiyang Lake Lotus Park, and Taoranting Park will all be subjected to judges' scrutiny. The pink and white "contestants" from the different parks will be collected and displayed at the Old Summer Palace's Hanqiu Pavilion, where the winner will be chosen.

In Chinese culture, lotus flowers represent a unique kind of beauty distinct from other flowers like peonies or chrysanthemums. In the past, Chinese men of letters regarded the lotus as a symbol of virtue: the flowers grow bright and beautiful despite their origins in the muddy pond. Lotuses are a recurring theme in many Chinese poems and paintings.

Don't miss your date with true virtue and beauty at Yuanmingyuan. The festival will conclude on August 31st.

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