Visitors flooded from around world to experience rich culture
The Chinese Year of the Rooster has arrived and many people found that Chengdu, a national central city pinpointed by the State Council, was an ideal destination to experience traditional culture and folk customs, especially during Chinese New Year celebrations.
David Parker, a student from the United States, stayed in Chengdu for the festival this year.
“Chinese Spring Festival is amazing. I found myself immersed in an abundance of fascinating activities during the two-week holiday,” he said.
As a history lover, Parker went to the Du Fu Thatched Cottage, which commemorates Du Fu (712-770), widely considered to be one of the greatest poets in ancient China.
The eighth Chengdu Du Fu Festival was held there during the Spring Festival to commemorate the poet Du, who lived during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
Following local customs, Chengdu residents gathered at Du Fu Thatched Cottage to recite his works.
Parker said he bought a book written in Chinese to learn to read the poems by Du, trying to fully embrace the beauty of the poems. “That was quite an unusual experience for me,” he said.
Another of Parker’s destinations was the Jinsha Site Museum, which houses relics from the Jinsha Ruins discovered in Chengdu in 2001.
Dating back some 3,000 years, the ruin’s treasures include gold and jade ware, as well as ivory.
The best-known relic is the sunbird gold foil, which the State Administration of Cultural Heritage chose as the logo for China cultural heritage.
The annual Chengdu Jinsha Sun Festival was held at the museum during the Spring Festival. The activity this year featured both ancient Chinese and ancient Egyptian culture.
“I didn’t realize that Chengdu had such a long history and such an advanced civi l izat ion thousands of years ago,” Parker said.“This trip made me a lot of interested in Chengdu.”
At the Sichuan Cuisine Museum, Parker had the opportunity to prepare authentic regional dishes. He cooked mapo tofu, kung pao chicken and some local snacks.
He also went to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Home to more than 100 giant pandas, the center boasts the most advanced technologies in the world for breeding and protecting giant pandas.
Raymond Greene, US consul-general in Chengdu, said more American students are choosing the city as their destination to study abroad because of its long history and unique culture.
Greene said he stayed in Chengdu during the past two Spring Festival seasons. He added that he loves those tourism spots with a lot of cultural charm, such as the Temple of Marquis, a shrine memorializing Zhuge Liang, a personification of wisdom and loyalty in Chinese history.
Zhuge served as prime minister for Liu Bei, founder of the Shu Kingdom, and his son, during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280).
The temple is one of the best preserved relics relating to the Three Kingdoms. It boasts relics from several dynasties, including 47 gilded or painted statues of important public officials and generals from the Shu Kingdom.
The annual Chengdu Temple Fair was held at the temple during the Spring Festival. The fair features the Three Kingdoms culture, art exhibitions and a lantern show. Visitors were also able to taste all kinds of Chinese and foreign snacks on nearby Jinli Street.
Special events brighten holiday
The city held a variety of cultural activities to create a festive atmosphere to enrich people’s holiday experience.
The 49th Chengdu International Panda Lantern Fair, being held in Sansheng Township, a suburb of Chengdu, until March 12, boasts more than 130 lighting displays spanning 30 hectares, the largest scale seen in recent years.
The lantern designs showcase famous tourism and historical sites, such as Qingyang Temple and Qingcheng Mountain, cultural elements such as Sichuan Opera and Sichuan cuisine, as well as giant pandas and buildings that are representative of countries along the Chengdu-Europe Express Rail. The railway service opened in 2013, linking Chengdu to various European countries.
An exhibition showcasing the renowned Dunhuang grotto art is open and free to the public at the Chengdu Museum. More than 200 items are on display.
Ancient towns in Chengdu also held all kinds of activities, such as concerts, folklore performances, fireworks display, and lantern riddle events to celebrate the coming of the New Year.
Fast-paced growth, rich culture
Chengdu is the world’s second fastest- growing destination for international visitors, according to the 2016 MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index.
The city was selected as one of the 21“Best of the World” destinations for 2017 by National Geographic Traveler magazine, published by the National Geographic Society in the US, due to its attractive food and culture. Chengdu is the only Chinese city to make this year’s list.