Spring Festival Fever: 2013 Temple Fairs in Beijing

Spring Festival Fever: 2013 Temple Fairs in Beijing

Love them or hate them, Temple Fairs are a staple event in the annual festivities surrounding the Spring Festival. The history of temple fairs goes way back the Tang and Song Dynasties, when Buddhists and Taoists competed with each other to recruit followers and to spread their doctrines. The first events to be held in temple fairs were dances and performances, but as time passed vendors also began selling their goods, eventually transforming the event into a vibrant market place. Nowadays, Temple fairs have nothing to do with religion, but are predominantly commercial events with money and entertainment in mind. Notorious for attracting tens of thousands of visitors (helicopters have had to be deployed to patrol the crowds of past fairs in Beijing!), the modern day temple fair is a loud, and slightly chaotic, circus of traditional performances, music, snacks and souvenir vendors. Almost a rite of passage if you’re a foreigner in Beijing, experience the madness of Beijing’s temple fairs at least once!

Park Temple Fairs:

1) Ditan Park Temple FairView In Map
Ditan Park’s temple fair was one of the first to be restored in the city and is always a popular choice thanks to its picturesque location in the heart of Dongcheng District. The fair showcases a display of local customs, folk traditions and embraces China’s diverse ethnic minorities. Whether you want to try out traditional Chinese snacks, buy some arts and crafts or watch a performance, Ditan Park’s got you covered. And if the crowd gets too overbearing, simply sneak off among the pine trees for a breath of “fresh” air.

When: Feb 10-16
Add: Ditan Park, 2 Andingmen Wai Dajie, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6421 6870
Price: 10 RMB
Getting there: take subway Line 2 to Yonghegong (Lama Temple) or Andingmen; or take Line 5 to Yonghegong or Hepingli Beijie

2) Lotus Pond Park Temple FairView In Map
Lotus Pond Park’s temple fair has been around since 2000, and combines folk customs, history and modern culture into one mad event. This year, expect dance performances, traditional opera, a flower show, acrobatics and cross-talk performances. During the fair, you can also pick up clothes, folk arts and crafts, jade items, old Beijing snacks and other random knick-knacks.

When: Feb 9-15
Add: Lotus Pond Garden, 48 Lianhuachi Lu, Fengtai District, Beijing
地址:北京市丰台区莲花池路48号, 莲花池公园
Tel: 010 6336 1709
Price: 10 RMB
Getting there: take subway Line 9 to Beijing West Station

3) Longtan Park Temple FairView In Map
An annual fixture since 1984, Longtan Park’s temple fair usually comprises of four snack streets selling an eye-catching array of snacks, albeit at slightly inflated prices. The fair offers a great opportunity to learn about local Beijing customs, with plenty of cross-talk performances, people on stilts, diabolo displays and even performances by circus troupes. Other highlights include an ice-skating rink and stalls selling toys and other trinkets. Grab a candied fruit and enjoy the festivities!

When: Feb 9-16
Add: Longtan Park, 8 Longtan Lu, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6714 4310
Price: 10 RMB
Getting there: take bus No. 6, 8, 12, 60, 116, 684, 750, 958 to Longtan Park stop

4) International Sculpture Park Temple FairView In Map
The temple fair at the International Sculpture Park will be held in the east section of the park and will include a flower exhibit, traditional performances, Beijing snacks, New Year’s trinkets, stunts, traditional circus acts and a stage for public dancing.

When: Feb 10-15
Add: Beijing International Sculpture Park, 2 Shijingshan Lu, Shijingshan District, Beijing
Price: 10 RMB
Getting there: take subway Line 1 to Yuquan Lu station, south-west exit

Royal Garden Temple Fairs

1) Honglou Temple Fair at Daguan GardenView In Map
Daguan Garden has been hosting temple fairs since 1997, making this year’s temple fair its 16th edition. This temple fair embraces “red mansion” culture, which mainly refers to the role of concubines during imperial times. To reflect this, the fair’s main highlight is an event called “The Homecoming Imperial Concubine”, a performance based on a story from the novel “A Dream of Red Mansions”. Other attractions at the fair include flower exhibits, traditional performances and snacks from all over China.

When: Feb 10-14
Add: 12 Nancaiyuan Jie, Xicheng District, Beijing
Price: 40 RMB
Getting there: take bus No. 53, 59, 63, 84, 122, 458, 474, 717, 特12路内环, 运通102 to Daguanyuan stop

2) Royal Temple Fair at the Old Summer PalaceView In Map
Appropriately held at the Old Summer Palace, where temple fairs played an important role during the Qing Dynasty, this temple fair features an imperial marketplace, song, dance and other traditional performances, role play, imperial culture exhibitions and more. This is the best event for catching a glimpse of what temple fairs were like during imperial times, and what the imperial family would wear, eat and how they were entertained.

When: Feb 10-16
Add: 28 Qinghua Xilu, Haidian District, Beijing
Price: 10 RMB
Getting there: take bus No. 365, 432, 562, 614, 656, 664, 681, 717, 982, 特4路, 运通105, 运通205 to Yuanmingyuan Dongmen stop

3) Temple of Heaven Park Temple Fair View In Map
Temple of Heaven Park’s temple fair is different to others in that the event focuses almost exclusively on heaven worshipping performances. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests will also feature exhibitions paying homage to the park’s rich history and imperial music. Don’t come here if you’re hungry, as unlike all the other temple fairs, this one doesn’t include vendors. There is no extra charge for this temple fair; visitors must simply buy an entry ticket for the park.

When: Feb 10-14
Add: 1 Tiantan Park, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Price: 40 RMB
Getting there: take bus No. 2, 17, 20, 35, 69, 71, 504, 626, 707, 729, 特11, 专30 to Tiantan Ximen stop

Other Events

1) Chaoyang International Spring CarnivalView In Map
This annual event, which has been hosted since 2002, merges foreign elements with traditional customs. Visitors can enjoy performances by international dance troupes, food from around the world, creative eco goods and more. This year’s theme country is Ireland, so expect to be treated to traditional music and Irish dancing.

When: Feb 10 - 15
Add: 1 Chaoyang Gongyuan Nan Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Price: 10 RMB
Getting there: take bus No. 31, 117, 214, 302, 406, 419, 431, 499, 502, 621, 672, 673, 677, 686, 729, 731, 750, 758, 976 to Chaoyang Gongyuan Qiaoxi stop

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Keywords: 2013 temple fairs Beijing 2013 Spring Festival Beijing spring festival events Beijing


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