Traditional Shengtang temple fair kicks off in Pudong
The traditional Shengtang temple fair, highlighted by folk activities, kicked off today in Sanlin Town in Shanghai's Pudong New Area.
Traditional ceremonies were performed, like dotting the dragon’s eyes with ink, to pray for a bumper harvest and a good year.
Taoist priests from the Chongfu Taoist Temple, commonly known as Shengtang Temple, wore traditional Taoist costumes and recited scriptures in rituals of blessing.
A river parade of decorated floats and a display of cheongsam, a symbol of Shanghai culture, were staged. Dragon and lion dances, another traditional celebration, were performed by local students and residents.
The fair also featured intangible cultural heritage shows featuring paper-cutting and sizhu, a form of instrumental music popular in southern regions in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
Food stalls were popular among visitors, selling local specialties including roupi, or pork skin, and caotoubing, a fried snack made from glutinous rice flour and burclover leaves.
"I come every year to attend the temple fair — I can watch many cultural shows which are rarely seen elsewhere in today's society," said a nearby resident, surnamed Wu, 62.
The temple fair, held on the Sanlintang Old Street, will last four days, and is free of charge.
The temple, near Yangnan Road and Lingyang Road S., was said to be built during the Three Kingdom Period (AD 220-280) as an ancestral temple of renowned military general Lu Xun.
In 1119, Emperor Huizong of the Song Dynasty (AD 960-1297) named it Chongfu, and it became a Taoist temple.
It has been destroyed and repaired many times, the latest overhaul being in the 1990s.
The Shengtang temple fair began in the 17th century, becoming a grand gala featuring folk performances, Taoist ceremonies, aerobic shows and stalls filled with snacks. It was held annually until the late 1980s in Sanlin Town.
It was later listed as an intangible cultural heritage and brought back in 2006, when it moved to Old Sanlintang Street, which is said to add more of an old flavor and provides a spacious riverside venue.