Dongyue Temple Fair, the annual folk festival
Dongyue Temple Fair is held annually every April on the sacred Mount Tai in Tai'an city, Shandong province, providing a grand stage for demonstrating local folk customs.As an important platform for cultural exchange, the festival is a prime opportunity for tourists and festival-goers.
The temple fair dates back to the Tang dynasty (AD 618-907). It became prosperous in the Song Dynasty (AD 420-479) and carried on during the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.
During Tang Dynasty it was strictly confined to celebrating the birthday of God Dongyue, which falls on the 28th day of the third month of the Chinese lunar calendar. God Dongyue is revered by local people as the "Lord of Mount Tai".
During the Song Dynasty, the temple fair developed into a themed festival to celebrate his birthday.
With the God Bixia being popular and worshiped on Mount Tai, the Dongyue Temple Fair reached its all-time height in the Ming Dynasty to display the great reverence held by the people of this locality to the sacred gods.
Nowadays, the fair is held on the third day of the third lunar month each year and includes cultural and art events,custom shows,kung fu shows and commodity exchanges.
Cultural and tour groups from countries and regions such as South Korea and Taiwan are invited for the event to promote bilateral exchanges in tourism, folk customs and culture.
In 2008, Dongyue Temple Fair at Mount Tai was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage by the State Council for better preservation and development of the country's temple fair culture, which is an important part of traditional Chinese culture and a kind of precious tourism resource.
Dongyue Temple Fair has become the source of Chinese temple fair culture, which offers a stage for China folk culture, enriching literary arts and folklore.
The open ceremony of the 2016 Mount Tai Dongyue Temple Fair was held on April 21 at Dai Temple on Mount Tai. [Photo/1545ts.com]
The 10th century stick-and-ball sport Chuiwan, also known as "Chinese golf", is demonstrated at the open ceremony of the 2016 Mount Tai Dongyue Temple Fair. [Photo/1545ts.com]