Traditional temple fair held in Mt. Tai Wednesday, April 19, 2006

An ongoing traditional temple fair held in Tai Mountain in east China's Shandong province has resumed the ancient temple culture that has a history of more than one thousand years.

According to historical accounts, the temple fair in Tai Mountain originated at the end of the Tang dynasty (618-907) and prospered during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasty (1644-1911). At first, people worshipped the God of Tai Mountain on the occasion, which later developed into a folk festival with religious and tourist activities. Folk arts, breathtaking games, folk handicraft, and exchanges on ideas of longevity can all be seen during the fair.

Overseas visitors could see the grand heaven-worshipping ceremony when "emperors", dressed in royal attire of the Qing dynasty and guided by royal officials and guards, came to the Tiankuang Temple to say prayers to the God of Heaven.

Wrestling is another big event for the fair. Two wrestlers, dressed as people living in the Song dynasty, fought on Wednesday in front of the Daimiao Temple. The performance vividly depicted a scene described in the Chinese classic novel, Outlaws of the Marsh, in which Yanqing, a vagrant character in the novel, beat local tyrant Renyuan. The astounding performance attracted many overseas visitors.

In Tai Mountain, three religions, Ru, Shi, and Tao (Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism), co-exist, which is rarely seen in other mountains in China. During the temple fair, thousands of people came to Tai Mountain praying for good luck and a happy life. The Bixia Temple held a religious ceremony on Tuesday, showing the holy atmosphere there and providing a chance for overseas visitors to experience China's religion.

Editor: Mu Xuequan