ZHOUZHUANG, China, Jan. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- During every Spring Festival, the ancient town of Zhouzhuang organizes a series of activities around the theme of, "I'm in Zhouzhuang for Spring Festival." From December 24th to January 15th of the Chinese lunar calendar, many traditional Spring Festival cultural celebrations have been fading out and giving way to a new fast-pace life. However, the old ways are represented in their original form in Zhouzhuang. When tourists enjoy the Spring Festival holiday in Zhouzhuang, their experience of the customs of the people from south of the Yangtze Delta will be enriched by three highlighted theme activities including Whipping Spring Ox (made of wood and clay) on the first day, God of Wealth Festival on the second day and Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the lunar year, as well as eight Spring Festival customs experiencing activities.
At 9:58 a.m. on the first day of the lunar year, visitors from everywhere participate in a traditional folk custom, Whipping Spring Ox, in the front of the Ancient Memorial Arch together with Zhouzhuang locals. After the ceremony, visitors do as the Romans do and are allowed to touch the body of the Spring Ox, which is believed to give the year a good start. The activity of "Touching the Spring Ox" lasts until the seventh day of the lunar year.
On the fifth day of the lunar year, the God of Wealth is welcomed from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. A wealth path and wealth table are set and the God of Wealth is worshiped from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. This aims to create a unique inspiration and experience for visitors to walk on the wealth path and get good luck in making fortune. After the traditional ceremony the God of Wealth Festival ends on the fifth day of the lunar year, while the activity surrounding God of Wealth worship will last till the seventh day of the lunar year. Worshiping the God of Wealth and freeing captive animals means praying for good luck and good fortune in the coming year.
On the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the lunar year, there are activities for visitors to experience in Zhouzhuang that they do not want to miss, such as enjoying festival lanterns, guessing lantern riddles and participating in the Lantern Festival Party with locals.
Visitors may taste the "Spring Wine" in Zhouzhuang. In Yuanfengshun Wine Workshop, visitors are entertained with Wansan Rice Wine for free. After watching and learning the traditional process of rice wine production, visitors may taste a cup of lucky and happy "Spring Festival Wine" for free with a ticket to the wine workshop.
During the Spring Festival, many excellent operas are staged in Zhouzhuang. Visitors can enjoy the melodious and touching Kunqu Opera at the Ancient Stage, as well as watch Xuan Juan (the script of rap art performance) and appreciate storytelling together with locals in Chi Jiang Cha (a special tea house for civil dispute mediation in the past).
During the Spring Festival, senior Zhouzhuang locals keep the tradition of "Making Spring Festival Cakes". They usually make Spring Festival Cakes while chatting with others. Eating sweet Spring Festival Cakes made of glutinous rice is a way of promoting a thriving life in the coming year.
Enjoying food in a round shape such as San Wei Yuan (round dumplings in chicken soup) and Fu'an Su (fried cake stuffed with read bean paste) during the Spring Festival is another traditional custom for Zhouzhuang locals who expect a successful and satisfying new year. During the Spring Festival, you should look for round-shaped food and interact with the city's official Wechat account.
On Quanfu Road, the Zhouzhuang locals wear traditional costumes featured with characters of the town such as rivers and lakes, sing and dance festively, which highlights the Spring Festival in Zhouzhuang together with other folk performances such as Da Lianxiang (dance with a colorful stick), Tiao Hualan (carry flower baskets on shoulder and dance) as well as Dragon and Lion Dance. The Traditional Spring Festival Goods Street and New Spring Festival Necessities for Brother Wansan's Family are waiting for your shopping.
During the Spring Festival, Zhouzhuang scenic spots will prepare many traditional, unique and colorful festival folk performances in order to give visitors an original flavor banquet of local Spring Festival customs. Many traditional festival celebration activities passed down by generations in Zhouzhuang will be performed, including Tiao Hualan, Dang Huchuan (land boat dance), Da Lianxiang, Dragon and Lion Dance and Yao Kuaichuan (boat race). Moreover, the traditional Spring Festival feast, abundant Spring Festival goods and local snacks will make visitors fully satisfied and even want to take away everything in their pockets!
Zhouzhuang, one of the most famous water townships in China, is situated in Kunshan City, which is only 30 kilometers (18 miles) southeast of Suzhou. Zhouzhuang covers an area of 38 square kilometers, including the ancient town area of 0.47 square kilometers.
The beautiful ecological natural environment is well preserved by the ripples shinning in Taishidian Lake, White Clams Lake, Jishui Port, South Lake, and the criss-crossed river courses, lakes and wet lands. The core part of the ancient town is surrounded by lakes and rivers, the original feature and style of the thousand-year old ancient town is still there as it was, and the 14 ancient bridges built during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties are artistically stretched across the "#" shaped river courses. The native local residents, without any exception, build their houses along rivers; families are adjacent to the rivers. Streets are formed along the rivers by nearly thousands of ancient houses in the town, the buildings of Ming and Qing Dynasty accounting for over 60% of all buildings is well preserved as a reflection of the glamour of water town. It has been shortlisted as a possible UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, and has already won many awards, including the Dubai International Award for Best Practices in Improving the Living Environment and an American Government Award.
From the lunar New Year's Day to Lantern Festival (January 15 on the lunar calendar), Dragon Boat Festival, Double-Seventh Festival, and Mid-autumn Festival, Zhouzhuang seems always full of life. After experiencing nearly a thousand years of vicissitudes, the unsophisticated Zhouzhuang people still retain a series of traditional festival-celebration ceremonies and activities, such traditions and customs like Lianxiang Songs and Dances, Rowing fast boat, A'po Tea, Rowing Light Boat, Fast Boating, Shooting "the Fortune of Farm" and more have been spread from one generation to another up to present day.