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Igniting the New Year


Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s called in China and Chinese New Year as it’s widely known abroad, is the most important traditional festival in China and many other places in Asia. The holiday season kicks into full swing sometime shortly after Western New Year’s Eve, when various celebrations begin in earnest throughout China, continuing until the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first lunar month. Along with the rise of modern civilization, however, traditional celebrations have seen a gradual decline, especially in large cities. Fortunately, more orthodox Spring Festival celebrations are still well-preserved in many less-developed rural areas, such as Yuxian County.

Nestled in the Huliu River Valley of Hebei Province, Yuxian lies only about 240 kilometers from Beijing along an important passage between North China Plain and Zhangbei Plateau. Historically, due to its strategic location, the county was the site of countless battles between nomadic tribes from the North and feudal regimes in Central China. Since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), several fortresses erected there served their builders’ defense needs. One of them, Shangsuzhuang Village, is amongst the county’s best-preserved.

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