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Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family in Guangzhou

The Chen ancestral hall, also known as the Chen clan academy or the Chen clan ancestral hall, is a place in Guangzhou where people worship their ancestors and learn from them. It is now the Guangzhou folk art museum, displaying the most distinctive buildings in Guangzhou. The Chen ancestral hall in liwan district, guangzhou, the ancestral hall of ancestors in foshan, the former residence of sun yat-sen in zhongshan city and the opium war memorial hall in dongguan city have been listed as four cultural tourist attractions in Guangzhou province.

At the end of the qing dynasty (1644-1911), a man named Chen won the third place in the imperial examination and was given a prominent official position, which made the Chen family known to all. It was later suggested that all Chen’s families raise funds to build a temple to worship their ancestors and encourage their descendants to study hard as well. So in 1894, the Chen family built the temple with donations from 72 counties in Guangzhou province and some overseas members of the Chen family.

The ancestral temple is a complex of nine halls, six quadrangles and nineteen corridors. A pair of stone drums in front of the gate, 2.55 meters (about 8.36 feet) high, and two four-meter (about 13 feet) high painted door gods are said to be the best in Guangzhou.

The Chen academy was built in a symmetrical manner in accordance with the Chinese tradition. The main hall, juxian hall, is located in the center of the temple. Before the temple was built, juxian hall was once a gathering place for clansmen. Now it is used as an ancestral hall. In front of the hall is a stone pavilion surrounded by a stone railing. There is a beautifully carved screen in the hall, which is a model of wood carving.

Tibetan Festivals, Tibetan New Year, Great Prayer Festival Monlam

Join one festive event during your visit in Tibet and it will surely add more to your memory of the snowland.
Tibetan New Year is the most important festival there. It is an occasion when Tibetan families reunite and expect that the coming year will be a better one. Known as Losar, it starts from the first to the third day of the first Tibetan month. Preparations for the happy event are manifested by special offerings to family shrine deities, painted doors with religious symbols, and other painstaking jobs done to prepare for the event. People eat Guthuk (barley crumb food with filling) on New Year’s Eve with their families. Eating Guthuk is fun since the barley crumbs are stuffed with a different filling to fool someone in the family. The Festival of Banishing Evil Sprits is observed after dinner. Signs that the New Year is approaching when one sees lit torches, and people running and yelling to get rid of evil spirits from their houses. Before dawn on New Year’s Day, housewives get their first buckets of water for their homes and prepare breakfast.

After breakfast, people dress up to go to monasteries and offer their prayers. People visit their neighborhoods and exchange their Tashi Delek blessings in the first two days. Feast is the theme during the occasion. On the third day, old prayer flags are replaced with new ones. Other folk activities may be held in some areas to celebrate the events.

Religious dance in Great Prayer Festival Monlam, the Great Prayer Festival, falls on the fourth up to the eleventh day of the first Tibetan month. The event was established in 1049 by Tsong Khapa, the founder of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama’s order. It is the grandest religious event in that area. Religious dances are performed and thousands of monks gather for chanting before the Jokhang Temple. Examinations taking form of sutra debates for the Geshe degree, the highest degree in Buddhist theology, are also held. Pilgrims crowd to listen to the sermons while others give religious donations.

The Butter Lamp Festival, Chunga Choepa in local language, falls on the fifteenth day of the first Tibetan month. The event was also established by Tsong Khapa to celebrate the victory of Sakyamuni against heretics in a religious debate. Giant butter and Tsampa sculptures varying in forms of auspicious symbols and figures are displayed on Barkhor. People keep singing and dancing throughout the night.
Butter Lamp Festival On the fifteenth day of the fourth Tibetan month is Saka Dawa. The day is believed to be the time when Sakyamuni was born; stepped into Buddhahood, and attained nirvana. The locals believe that a merit is an accumulation of a myriad of merits from previous days, months or years. People refrain from killing animals by liberating them and abstain from eating meats. Sutra chanting, prayer turning, Cham dancing and other religious activities dominate the occasion. Offering sacrifices to the female deity enshrined in the temple on the islet of the Dragon King Pond, boating in the pond and picnicking add more to the festive mood.

China Panda, Giant Panda, Cute Panda, Panda Facts

Panda belongs to the family of bears. Pandas live in the bamboo forest of China, but loss of natural habitat and poaching pushed pandas to the brink of extinction. These beautiful animals are critically endangered with just 1000 pandas left in the wild.

Any animative movements of the giant panda will draw wide attention and generate happiness. They are cute and cuddly with cool eye patches and dopey gestures. There are many reasons why people love them and the most important one is that they are rare and endangered.

Endangered Panda

Giant pandas have become an endangered species in the world and many people wonder why. These creatures seem so benign, innocuous, and harmless that a great deal of curiosity arises as to how and why their numbers diminish. As is the case with scores upon scores of endangered and extinct animals, certain unexpected changes contributed to a decline in population.

Pandas, as is the case with other animals, must live in a very specific environment in order to survive. These creatures, which are cousins to the raccoon and not bears as commonly thought, must live in a forested area. The forest offers them the right climate and food source in which to survive. The intrusion of humans into their environment has had a devastating effect. Namely, humans have cut down the forests in which these creatures live. Specifically, the bamboo plants the panda relies upon for food are cut down.

During the early years of human intrusion, pandas could move to another section of the forest where a food supply exists. Over time, as more and more forests are cut down, there is far less food for the remaining population of pandas. The result here is that the pandas end up starving to death.

Many pandas were also slaughtered over the years by hunters who once killed them just for sport. However, such a practice is no longer commonplace today.

Habitat

Throughout history, most regions of China were home to giant pandas, including Zhoukoudian in Beijing, the site of the prehistoric Peking Man; Guangxi, Guangdong and Yunnan provinces; and nearby regions in Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

In China, most giant pandas live in the mountains of Qinling, Minshan, Qionglai, Daxiangling and Xiaoxiangling. Their habitation area covers about 2.3 million hectares. Among them, 80 percent live in Sichuan province. The rest reside in Shaanxi and Gansu province.

Generally speaking, wild pandas live on mountains at an altitude above 2,500 meters.

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is located in Chengdu, provincial capital of Sichuan. It is the world’s most famous agency for giant panda migration research and protection. It is also the world’s best place to watch giant pandas.

Food

More than 20 kinds of alpine bamboo (especially young fleshy stems and buds, bamboo shoots). An adult panda eats about 40kg (88 pounds) fresh bamboo shoot a day, 14kg (about 31 pounds) bamboo stalks, or 20kg (about 44 pounds) bamboo leaves. It has a greater appetite in summer than winter. In the wild, they may eat other plants and occasionally dead or small animals. Their ancestors were true carnivores. About one million years ago, they began to eat bamboo.

Breeders usually provide giant pandas with corn bread and fruit for nutrition supplementation. Pandas favor kiwifruit, aquatic plants, weeds, shrubs and trees.

Growing Process

A giant panda’s pregnancy lasts from 83 to 200 days. The body of a newborn giant panda is pink and spans 10 centimeters, which makes its tail seem particularly long. An average newborn giant panda weighs between 51 grams and 225 grams, less than one-thousandth of its mother’s weight.

Four to five days after its birth, a giant panda’s ears and eye sockets begin to gradually grow darker. After 30 to 38 days, it begins to have the characteristic appearance of other giant pandas. A mother panda has four nipples for babies to drink nutrient-rich milk. Panda breast milk also contains various substances that help newborns resist disease.

Baby pandas begin to walk at around 90 to 120 days old. Wild juvenile giant pandas leave their mother and live independently when they are 1.5 to 2 years old.

A wild juvenile giant panda usually leaves its mother and lives independently at 1.5 to 2 years old. A human-fed giant panda is weaned about five months to 1.5 years after birth, or sometimes at the age of two. A female giant panda sexually matures when it is about 5 years old, a male matures at around 7 years old.

Lantern Festival, Yuan Xiao Festival, Shang Yuan Festival

The Lantern Festival, also known in China as the Yuan Xiao Festival or Shang Yuan Festival, falls on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar. It marks the end of the Spring Festival celebration and is also the first major festival after Chinese New Year.  On that day, family members gather to have a brilliant night, so ancient people also call it Shangyuan Festival . Celebrations and traditions on this day began from the Han Daynasty and became popular in the Tang Dynasty. Till today, the lantern festival is still held each year around the country.

History

With a history of over 2,000 years, various traditional customs and activities are held during Lantern Festival that appeal to people of different ages, including eating Yuanxiao,  watching lanterns and fireworks, guessing lantern riddles and performing folk dances.  In ancient China, young ladies were not allowed to go out freely except at the time of the Lantern Festival. Appreciating the lanterns offers a good chance for young boys and girls to communicate with each other. A line from Xin Qiji, a poet during the Song Dynasty, shows this:

Hundreds and thousands of times I searched for her in the crowd. Suddenly I turned, and there she stood, in the dim light.

However, as time has passed, the festival no longer has such a meaning of a  romantic story.

Eating Yuanxiao

 

Eating Yuanxiao has become an essential part of the Lantern festival.  Yuanxiao, also called Tangyuan,  is a small dumpling ball made of sticky rice flour typically filled with sweet red bean paste, sesame paste, or peanut butter, which tastes sweet and delicious. What’s more, Tangyuan in Chinese has a similar pronunciation with “tuanyuan”, meaning reunion. The Chinese people believe that Yuanxiao is round in shape so it is a symbol of reunion, harmony and happiness. So eating Yuanxiao may bring the family happiness and good luck in the new year. During the night of the festival, family members sit together to taste Yuanxiao and appreciate the full moon.

Appreciating Lanterns

Appreciating red lanterns is one of the main traditions. According to the Chinese tradition, at the very beginning of a new year, when there is a bright full moon hanging in the sky, there should be thousands of colorful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate. when the festival comes, red lanterns can be seen in the street, in each house, and store. In the parks, lanterns of various shapes and types attract countless visitors. Children will hold self-made or bought lanterns to walk on the streets, extremely excited.

Guessing Lantern Riddles

Guessing riddles is regarded as an important part of the Lantern Festival. The riddles are usually short, wise, and sometimes humorous, which often contain messages of good fortune, family, reunion, harvests, prosperity, and love. The answer to a riddle can be a Chinese character,a famous person’s name, or a place name. People write all kinds of riddles on pieces of paper, and paste them on colorful lanterns to let visitors guess. If one has an answer to a riddle, he can pull the paper to let organizers check the answer. Gifts are presented to the people who get the right answers. As riddle guessing is interesting and full of wisdom, it is still popular with people of all ages.

Setting Off Fireworks

 

On the night, except for magnificent lanterns, fireworks form a beautiful scene. Most families spare some fireworks from the Spring Festival and let them off in the Lantern Festival. Some local governments will even organize a fireworks party. On the night when the first full moon enters the New Year, people become really excited by the fantastic fireworks and bright moon in the sky

Performing Folk Dances

In the daytime of the Festival, folk dances such as a dragon  dance, a lion dance, a land boat dance, and a yangge dance will be performed in the street or a park. All the people enjoy the happiness in this moment.