Floating down the canal in the ancient water town Wuzhen, you will be taken on a journey to wonderland of traditional Chinese folk games and crafts in an event, the annual Wuzhen Children’s Folkgame Festival which returns from June 27 to August 23.
Down the rabbit hole and through the pool of tears, Alice went on an adventure where Cheshire Cat grins and Caterpillar talks. To recreate the fantasy under a traditional Eastern culture background, Wuzhen has designed various adventures for children to live a day like Alice.
No magic potion can bring parents back to their childhood, yet they can play folk games such as shuttlecock kicking, rubber band skipping as well as hoop rolling and hopscotch with their children.
Yao Jie, general manager of sales department at Wuzhen Tourism Co. Ltd said the theme of this festival is “enjoying the games your grandfather played in his childhood.” Through this emphasis, the festival is passing on cultural traditions from generation to generation.
“When parents tell childhood stories in this ancient water town, they are becoming closer to their children,” Yao said. “Through playing games with their children, parents can also join to relive their carefree childhood.”
Although there’s no Mad Hatter’s tea party, kids become dessert masters in the Corner Cafe making Daifukus, the sweet soft white mochi treat.
Next stop is the “Queen of Hearts’ Garden” where children put together their own garden of “succulent” plants. Then at the “Queen’s Croquet Ground,” they will solve puzzles, play “Angry Birds” with water balloons and enjoy other games and contests designed to strengthen physical and intellectual health.
Young adventurers will earn stamps for completing the tasks. Whereas to take home souvenirs from the adventure, families can dye indigo cloth at Indigo Fabric Workshop or make clay dolls at Wu (black) Pottery Workshop.
The festival has gained quite a bit of overseas attention over the years. Groups of American students join Chinese peers every summer for game contests and story sharing.
This time, the festival which represents the cultural and folk customs of the town will last 58 days.