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Festival Trips in China

  • Festival Trips in China

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Chinese New Year is the biggest event on the Chinese festival calendar. Everyone heads for home to enjoy this family holiday and it is the busiest period for the Chinese transport network. In Hong Kong people mark the occasion with a unique fusion of ancient customs and modern fun in the world's largest Chinese New Year celebration. During the day families visit local markets to pick up flowers and plants to display during the festivities. In the evening the waterside is the place to be as an exciting firework display lights up the whole of the Hong Kong's magnificent harbour.

To mark the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations the Lantern Festival is another fun, family festival.  Colourful paper lanterns are hung in the streets, in trees and smaller mobile lanterns are given to children to carry.  ‘Guessing the riddle’ is an important part of the festivities, with a small riddle being placed on each lantern and people are invited to guess the solution. The lucky winners are treated to a small gift.

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In the far north of China, close to the border with Russia, the city of Harbin is home to an annual winter festival.  Showcasing both the magnificent ice sculptures of local artists and those from around the world, the Harbin Ice Festival has now been running for over 20 years. After wrapping up warm take plenty of time to soak up the vibrant and creative atmosphere of the festival and explore the amazing ice works, many of which are built on an awe-inspiring scale.  Ice art subjects can include well-known buildings, animals, gardens and scenes from Chinese folklore. After dark, the sculptures come alive in a dazzling display of light and colour from the thousands of tiny lights lying hidden within the ice.

Each summer, usually in June, crews of oarsmen take to ornately decorated dragon boats as part of the 2000 year old Dragon Boat Festival.  Long boats with carved dragon’s heads move swiftly across the water to the rhythmic and motivational sound of drums.

The Shoton Festival is one of Tibet’s most important festivals.  Locals gather together to witness a giant thangka painting being displayed on the outer walls of the Drepung Monastery before relaxing in the grounds of the Norbulingka Monastery to watch operas and eat yoghurt. Yak races and dancing also form part of this unique festival.

Festivals in China are very much family affairs and a time where workers can take a break and head home. Tourists are welcomed in all celebrations and although transport can be much busier it is worth timing your trip to take in one of the many festivals on offer. 

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