Here in China, we’ve just celebrated another meaningless nationalist festival, the world-renowned Duanwu Festival. This is a traditional and ancient Chinese festival that was first celebrated in the PRC in 2008, which makes it a bit like all those ancient pagoda’s that are five thousand years old yet were not to be seen when I first arrived in this Godforsaken place.
Duanwu – there’s a story there. The Chinese have started calling it the Dragon Boat Festival, probably because this is a festival that occurs at the same time in other countries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, and they want to steal the glory. Of course, Dragon Boat Festival translates as longzhou jie, and means simply having a bit of a paddle on a river, whilst duanwu means solar maximus festival. This just goes to show that you shouldn’t believe most of what you read in the fashion magazines, most of which are written by fuckwits in any case.
As with all Chinese festivals, this one involves what the Chinese like to call ‘delicious food’. This ‘delicious food’ goes by the name of Zongzi, and is made from pus-filled bandages wrapped in bamboo leaves. They are supposed to be thrown into the river to commemorate the fact that a poet once threw himself into the river after being caught at treason, but over the years some people have actually been known to eat them – the lesson here is to not be fooled into thinking that you can actually eat something in China merely because someone tells you it is ‘delicious’. Other popular activities on this day include hanging a little bag filled with ‘medicine’ (twigs and grass) around your neck, trying to stand an egg on it’s end, and writing magical spells. All of which makes it pretty much the same as any other day for most Chinese people.
Anyway, all this is besides the point. I know there’s probably a Falling Cow in this somewhere, but instead I want to tell you a bit about what I’ve been up to recently. Obviously, I haven’t been blogging: I have been on my summer hols! That’s right, I’ve been travelling the length and breadth of this magnificent land, scouring it for news and stories. I thought I’d share with you good people a few of my favourite photo’s, the one’s that show the very best this nation has to offer, both ancient and modern. Check these out (my apologies for the slight haze, which I’m assured is not pollution):
A scene from the famous Bund in Shanghai, at night. Note the brilliant neon lights.
The Great Wall of China continues to attract millions of visitors from around the world. Many parts of this wall have been restored recently. You still can’t see it from space, though.
The Forbidden City is yet another famous place in China. This imperial palace was built during the period of 1406 to 1420 by foreigners. The Chinese now claim it as their own.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dazu rock carvings are a series of works of religious significance, and are therefore banned in China. These exquisitely carved sculptures were created in the 7th century A.D. The carvings are located in Dazu County on a steep hillside.
This complex located at Qufu in Shandong Province contains the temple, cemetery and family mansion of Confucius, philosopher, politician and educator, of the 6th & 5th centuries BC. The cemetery contains Confucius’ tomb and the remains of more than 100,000 of his descendants, most of whom had expected to live a lot longer than they did.
The Leshan Grand Buddha was badly damaged during the Cultural Revolution, by foreigners according to propaganda, but has now been lovingly restored by the careful application of pink concrete. A must see if you have absolutely nothing else to do.
(*) Post title stolen from TaiTai, of Sinocidal fame.
Please note that this post took nearly four hours to put up, which just goes to show the lengths we China bloggers must go to to get around the censorship in China.