In China the people of Peking have been celebrating the start of the year of the Ram with festivities continuing for about two weeks.
In China the people of Peking have been celebrating the start of the year of the Ram with festivities continuing for about two weeks. The year of the Horse gave way to the year of the Ram at midnight on the 27th of January and was celebrated with a four-day "Spring Festival" holiday.
SYNOPSIS: This was followed last Sunday (11 February) by festivities known as the Lantern Festival marking the fifteenth day of the first lunar month.
A huge crowd of more than seventy thousand people packed Peking's Summer Palace for the occasion.
About six hundred folk players from eleven suburban communes entertained the crowds with a colourful programme, which included these stilt walkers dressed in operatic costumes.
More stilt dancers. Chinese communities all over the world attach great importance to the lunar calendar -- and this year shops in Peking have been urged to make the most of the festivities.
The dragon dance was the climax of the Peking Lantern Festival. In Chinese and Tibetan mythology the dragon is the symbol of the link between the world of the spirit and the world of man. As water serpents, they are said top inhabit the places on earth where these two worlds touch on each other -- for example, springs, river sources and waterfalls. They are appeased with offerings made during religious ceremonies and can act as both benign and malevolent influences on the lives of men.