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Guangfu Temple Fair: Traditional Folklore with New Ideas

February 27, 2017 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

In the middle of February, the 7th Guangfu Temple Fair was staged at various sites in Guangzhou, bringing novelty along with the charm of traditions. Over 70 programs and 130 performances debuted at this temple fair, attracting more than 6 million visitors.

Introducing creativity to traditional folklore, the temple fair brought along new ideas which blossomed around the city. A great diversity of activities were presented, including art performances, exhibitions of intangible cultural heritage, folk culture performances, an animation and cartoon temple fair, a charity temple fair and a water temple fair.

Decorating the trains of Gruangzhou subway Line 6 were symbols of local life such as the flower market, examples of Canton enamel and traditional buildings with arcades called Qilou. These expressed a rich taste of Cantonese culture. Held at the Gongyuanqian Station was the “Subway Temple Fair” with fantastic performances such as Cantonese operas, cultural heritage exhibitions and Cantonese music shows staged for locals.

To the north of Beijing Road in the city’s old historic town lay two huge “silkworms” symbolizing the “Market of Creation”, a new project set in the cultural heritage exhibition area of the temple fair. In the silkworm-shaped tents works of about 120 young artists were displayed. With a one-yuan ticket to support the artists, visitors could come into the market to buy artwork at various stands. The silkworm-shaped soft sculpture tents, with the length of 35 meters each, also hit a new Guinness World Record as the longest inflatable model, attracting nearly 40,000 visitors in the “belly”.

Across the street beyond the Chinese redbud trees adorned by red lanterns, the “Guangfu Chaoxu Market” outside Dongfang Wende Square proved to be a famous attraction for youngsters. At the “Chinese Art Hall”, young students presented their works such as Canton enamel, Canton embroidery, egg decorating and copper seals, all of which are local traditional crafts that have been listed as cultural heritage works. The “Love Pavilion” brought to young people the sparks of tradition colliding with fashion as well as games that brought strangers together.

The “Lantern Riddle Bus” of the Guangfu Temple fair carried with it an abundant display of Cantonese culture as it travelled across the old town of Zhongshan Road and the Chenghuang Temple to Zhujiang New Town. Passengers could scan QR codes that were added on the bus using WeChat to submit answers to trivia questions and win gifts.

It has been seven years since the first Guangfu Temple Fair was held. Nowadays, with the happiness it brings to local neighborhoods, this cultural event has become the second most attractive temple fair in China.

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