In one of his poems, Qian Daxin of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) described what he saw at a Flower Pilgrimage Festival: Just after a spring rain, throngs of people skipped to the northern suburb to see wild fiowers, their laughter ringing all the way. Childishly, a young maiden picked a yellow peach blossom and placed it in her hair. History repeated itself with the Flower Pilgrimage Festival held on the 15th day of the second lunar month of 2010 in Sanshenghua Township, an eastern suburb of Chengdu, capital of southwestern Cluna´s Sichuan Province. In addition to flowers, the festival´s most attractive scenery was hanfu (traditional Chinese Han clothing)enthusiasts from across the province.
Also called Vegetable Picking Festival, the Flower Pilgrimage Festival is a traditional Han celebration. The time of the festival varies in different regions, perhaps because the blooming seasons of various plants differ. There are many legends about the origin of the festival, of which three are the most popular: The first story involves Nu ´Yi of ther Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534), who was an expert in growing fiowers and has thus been remembered as the goddess of fiowers by later generations, with the festival held in memory of her. The istecond tale is about Cui Xuanwei, a well known fiower lover in the Tan.g Dynasty (618-907). Legend goes that one night during the second lunar month, a flock of flower fairies descended from heaven to the garden of his mansion. They commanded the flowers to blossom the next day, but the god of wind wouldn´t allow it, so the fairies asked Cui to help out. Before dawn, he sheltered the fiowers in the garden with silk cloth painted with the sun, moon and stars. When dawn arrived, a gale of wind blew, but the f[owers were protected by the silk shelters. Later, it became routine for flower lovers to shelter their blossoms with silk on the early morning of the Flower Pilgrimage Festival. According to the third concept, the second lunar month marks the bloom of various flora, so the festivalis held to celebrate the birthday of those fiowers. Gradually, the festival has become a traditional event featuring such activities as spring outings as well as fiower worship and protection. Around 9 a.m., dozens of participants in traditional hanfu arrived at the site of the festival. The men dressed in long robes with loose sleeves and traditional kerchiefs on hats, while women wore tall chignons with jade hairpins and old-fashioned earrines made of pearls. They greeted each other in the traditional manner of their ancestors in the Han (202 B.C. -220) and Tang Dynasties. Throughout history, traditional Chinese clothing kept evolving. However, many still believe that Han and Tang clothes best showcase the essential etiquette and culture of ancient China. Many hanfu lovers often dress up for traditional festivals, hoping to publicize traditional Chinese culture and etiquette. After exchanging conventional greetings, they sat down under a peach tree. Because of newcomers, they began to introduce themselves. Interestingly, each participant was required to recite a poem containing the word "fiower" promptly after introducing himself. Then, the person presiding over the ritual inserted a fiower in the hair of the speaker. The recitation attracted passersby who stopped to watch. A boy with his mother showed particular curiosity. The hanfu enthusiasts invited the boy and his mother to join them. "This experience will definitely help my son deeper understand ancient Chinese culture," declared the mother, with a smile.