Ancient Towns Welcome in the New Year

The ‘Great Cold’ as it is known is the last one of the Chinese 24 solar terms and traditionally associated with people doing away with the old and setting up the new, preserving food and purchasing gifts. In keeping with such festivities a number of the city’s small and ancient towns will, this weekend, be providing a variety of activities where you too can experience this most recognized tradition and welcome in the New Year.

Tangqi Ancient Town, Yuhang District (余杭塘栖古镇)

It is traditionally known that before Spring Festival people like to go shopping and with Tangqi’s water market there is plenty to purchase. Every year boatmen bob up and down the Grand Canal and sell their fish and vegetables. What is also of interest is the traditional Tangqi canal walk (走运河) which locals say will bring good luck, and starts from Shui Nan Jie Street and passes Guangji Bridge until Shui Nan Jie Street.

About two weeks before the Spring Festival Tangqi will hold a New Year Taste Festival during which visitors will be able to witness the making of traditional new year snacks like Guo Ci (Pan Fried Rice Cake: 锅糍), Tangqi-style Niangao, round dumplings, rice dumplings and spring rolls (春卷).

Furthermore, visitors may also catch a glimpse of Chinese old-fashioned children’s games like rubber band jumping, rolling a hoop, building houses, playing at peg-top and shuttlecock kicking.

Longmen Ancient Town, Fuyang District (富阳龙门古镇)

Have you ever seen a traditional bamboo horse performance? If not then come to Longmen ancient town where, in Mingqianyuan Garden, two war-horses will be fighting fiercely. To the beat of festive drums, Kuixing (魁星) will enter the stage and write down the name of the champion and then will throw the pen towards the crowd. It is traditionally known that whoever catches the pen will then have good luck for the following New Year.

From now on until Valentine’s Day (Feb. 24) Longmen ancient town, in traditional folklore style, will promote a series of activities and will hold the Western Zhejiang Spring Festival Folklore & Shopping Festival (浙西年俗•年货节).

Every weekend during this long festive season two fixed activities will take place: New Year Pork Meal (年猪饭) and Fuyang Special New Year Gifts Exhibition (富阳特色年货展)

Preparation of the New Year Pork Meal requires fresh pork ingredients which are then made into stewed pork and mixed with a brown sauce and sandwiched into steamed buns. Other ingredients such as pigs’ large intestines (used as food) are stewed with soybeans, fried pork livers and braised pork legs are also used.

The New Year Gifts Exhibition will display and sell local specialties such as Longmen wheat, rice wine, local spirits, Mazi (fried glutinous pudding), fried chestnuts, ginger candy and stinky tofu. Fifteen Fuyang commercial tenants will exhibit their specialties which include thin sheets of bean curd, flaky pastry, local chicken, eggs, blueberry juice and Wufeng aquatic products. In addition to the above visitors will also be able to try their hand at traditional skills like paper-cutting, rubbing New Year pictures, writing Spring Festival scrolls, making gluten, ginger candy and making Chinese ink.