Welcome in the New Year in the Grand Canal

2017 is just around the corner and to celebrate the arrival of a promising New Year, a grand New Year celebration called “Jogging along Grand Canal Praying for Blessings New Year Gathering” will be carried out on Jan. 1, 2017 in the green way along the Grand Canal in downtown Hangzhou. West Lake Culture Square will be the main venue and side venues include the square of Xiangji Temple, Grand Canal Culture Square, and Yunhe Tiandi. Representatives of all walks of life and foreigners from over 20 countries who are currently living or studying in Hangzhou are invited to participate in the event. Together, they will pray for blessings and celebrate, in unison, the arrival of 2017.

The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal cuts through five water systems; it connects and promotes the economic and cultural development of both areas and is thereby reputed as “Mother River of China’s Eastern Plain” and has for thousands of years brought luck and blessings to people living at its banks.

Route for Grand Canal New Year Jogging

With the theme of “Luck on Hangzhou and the World”, the event is another important international cultural communication gathering and a significant part of Hangzhou’s New Year Praying for Blessings series of activities.

Highlight One: Crossing the Century-Old Grand Canal

Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is the longest ancient canal in the world that was originally dug during the time of the Warriors Period and then further developed in the Sui Dynasty and Yuan dynasties. In 2014, The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal was successfully inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage and became the 32nd World Heritage of China.

The route of the jogging event connects almost all the famous attractions along the Grand Canal, including West Lake Culture Square, Qiaoxi Historic Block, Xiaohe Straight Street, Dadou Road Historic Block, Xiangji Temple, Yunhe Tiandi, Grand Canal Culture Square and Gongchen Bridge.

Highlight Two: Experiencing Buddhist Cuisine and Tea Cultures

In the late Qing Dynasty and Republic of China era, pilgrims from all corners of the world arrived here by boat to burn incense in Xiangji Temple. Hence, Xiangji Temple has been nicknamed “First Incense along the Grand Canal”. Its Xiangji incense path, Xiangji Buddhist cuisine and tea, as well as Sanskrit performance have attracted a constant stream of pilgrims and tourists.

In Xiangji Temple, there will be a New Year Praying for Blessing incense burning activity and a New Year Praying for Blessing Buddhist assembly. People participating in the event can receive free lucky gifts.

Highlight Three: First-Day Cover: Memorial Postmark and Envelope

All people participating in the jogging will be given a First-Day Cover and there will be supply stops along the jogging route where staff will stamp a mark on the first day cover of every participant. At the ending point, participants then can get gifts according to the number of marks on their first day cover.

Highlight Four: International Elements

Foreign friends from over 20 countries such as Russia, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Ukraine will dress in their traditional costumes and send out their best New Year wishes.

On Jan. 1, 2017, the grand opening ceremony will be held in West Lake Culture Square where five traditional Chinese mascots will make their appearances wishing good luck to all. In addition, foreigners in Hangzhou will perform a Welcoming New Year Dance.