The Grand View Garden Lion Dance Troupe kicked off this Beijing Salon activity with a traditional "Wind and Thunder" dance. (Photo: China.org.cn/Chen Boyuan)
With China's Year of the Horse soon to gallop in, Beijing Monthly together with the Beijing International Culture Association on January 26 hosted the "Experience Beijing - Temple Festival during Chinese New Year" affair at Qianmen's Laoshe Teahouse as part of the "Beijing Salon – Experience Beijing" event series.
The activity intended to give non-Beijingers, both foreign and Chinese this time around, a snap bite of the city's traditional culture. A Beijing Opera performance, a time-honored tea ceremony and a tasting of local snacks hailing from the nation's former imperial court kitchens all set out to cater visitors with your typical Chinese New Year's atmosphere.
The Grand View Garden Lion Dance Troupe kicked off the festivities with their traditional "Wind and Thunder" dance, one that many attending foreigner may have heard of in the past but has never witnessed in the flesh. After a very entertaining magic show, the highlight for most was surely the routine from the Shichahai Sports School, of which world-famous Kungfu superstar Jet Li is a graduate as well, martial arts master class featuring the real-live Kungfu Panda fighting and breakdancing his way across the stage.
After the performances, guests were invited to enter the Temple Fair set up inside the teahouse, marketing several items specifically relating to the Year of the Horse as well as promoting China's traditional paper cut art and handmade figurines. Others opted to get a mouthful of some typical Beijing gourmet (imperial) delicacies, including tanghulu (sugarcoated haws on a stick) and glutinous rice cakes. As the Chinese New Year rings in a time of reunion and good fortune, all proceeds from the Temple Fair will be donated to the Xicheng District Charity Association.
Since the very beginning of 2013, Beijing Monthly and Beijing International Culture Association have jointly organized one "Beijing Salon – Experience Beijing" activity per month. Foreigners residing in China's capital have thus far been invited to learn more about Beijing Opera, Kunqu Opera, martial arts, traditional Chinese music and imperial cuisine.
On the eve of China's busiest holiday, the interactive Temple Fair cultural experience bore a particularly festive ambiance, with visitors of all ages returning home to get ready for the real fireworks.