Spring Festival in Guangzhou
Technology continues to make the world a smaller place, and people across the globe seem to be becoming more familiar with the most important Chinese day – the Spring Festival. The first day of the Year of the Rabbit falls on February 3. Although every Chinese person enjoys the same holiday, celebration varies across the country and the world. For tourists hungry for more traditional customs, Guangzhou is a must visit. The most classic and unique ceremony in Guangzhou during the period is the “Spring Flower Fair.” It is drastically different than anything that can be found in northern regions.
Since Guangzhou rests within the subtropical zone, flowers can grow and blossom even in winter. Most years, the fair opens a few days before Chinese New Year’s Eve, but many choose the Eve to visit. Tourists planning to attend on that day should be well prepared for heavy crowds.
Flowers are far from the only product available at the market. The venue is full of windmills, both in hands and for sale. The symbolism behind the windmill is simple. Since a Chinese phrase speaks of “turning (for good) fortune” and the words for “turn” and “rotate” share the same Chinese character, people believe that the spinning spurs good fortune in the coming year. Other traditions abound: Hanging red lanterns, for example, is a common practice to bring good fortune. The Chinese character meaning “fortune” is hung on home doors and walls upside down because in Chinese, the pronunciation of “upside down” sounds similar to “arrival.” Inverting the character is thought to help welcome fortune’s arrival.
Actually, Guangzhou is a great place to visit any time of the year. But February features a relatively warm and festive atmosphere, so it’s a prime time to drop in.
Liede Bridge at night, Guangzhou. CFP
Local residents create big crowds during Spring Festival in Guangzhou. CFP