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12 Earthly Branch Hours in Fengsheng Ancient Town | Chinese Lantern Festival

By JAMES ALEXANDERICHONGQING|Mar 22,2021

Chongqing- Among the mountains of Banan District over the Chinese Lantern Festival, rediscover the bygone charms of simple living on a stroll through the serene alleyways of Fengsheng Anceint Town, far removed from the daily clamour of urban life.

Let us take you on a journey across 12 earthly branch hours in Fengsheng, where bluestone slabs, stilted houses, winding alleys, and grand doorways adorn the antiquated streetscapes home to generations of artisanal tradition.

Zi(子) 11 pm to 1 am

“Attention all residents! Remember safety awareness. Prevent fire, theft, and fraud. Create harmony together in Fengsheng”

A night watchman sounds the hour in the ancient streets with a bamboo stick, gong, and sonorous voice.

Chou (丑) 1 am to 3 am

Winemakers set to work each day at this time to stew the grains, mix with yeast, and then cook in the steamer.

400kg of high-quality grains can produce over 100kg of pure toasted wine after 15 days when the aroma fills the air down through the alleyways.

Yin (寅) 3 am to 5 am

A shop owner begins the daily task of kneading, resting, cutting, and drying handmade dough in a simple village workshop nearby the ancient town.

Mao (卯) 5 am to 7 am

Night quietly gives way for the rising sun. Children recite poetry amidst the serenity of mountain-enveloped streets.

“Diligence is the path to knowledge, hard-work is the boat to erudition.”

Chen(辰)7 am to 9 am

Golden soybeans form the lifeblood to a family shopfront bustling with country patrons, where hours dedicated to soaking, grinding and baking bring forth a packed house of customers.

For the people of Fusheng, a day begins with a bowl of exquisite bean curd.

Si (巳) 9 am to 11 am

Spectators crowd to watch a filed group of drummers enter the street as they pound out a lively rhythm to the accompaniment of swirling dance canes.

Nearby, locals beat glutinous rice cake and stick toffee figures on bamboo strips to a background of song and dance.

Wu(午)11 am to 1 pm

Li Yuzhen, a 92-year-old party member and former messenger of the East Sichuan Guerilla Unit shares her story with neighbors inside a teahouse.

She has grown under the Party’s guidance throughout her life and is now able to enjoy her late years under their care, while her deeds will never be forgotten.

Wei (未) 1 pm to 3 pm

The steelyard is the most historically longevous piece of weighing apparatus still in use today.

Hand-crafted steelyards have been inherited over five generations in Fengsheng, where numerous artisanal traditions have been preserved.

Shen (申)3 pm to 5 pm

A ladle of syrup is scattered evenly over a basket of freshly cooked horsebean, which only needs cooling before the crisp and spicy flavor of Liu Family Horsebeans is ready.

The legacy of this intangible cultural heritage in Banan District has been inherited over a century to the present day.

 

You (酉) 5 pm to 7 pm

A street over 1000 meters long is paved with unequal stone slabs, which combine with green tiles, whitewash, and chestnut door lattices to create the picture of ancient simplicity.

In the ancient town after sunset, every building houses a family sharing homemade delicacies and the warmth of reunion as they prepare riceballs and cut slices of cured pork.

Xu (戌) 7 pm to 9 pm

Following dinner, the town residents can now relax. However, the blazing furnace of the only blacksmith still shines.

The ‘ding ding’ sound of hammer blows ring out from the workshop, as the ancient tradition continues in the antiquated street.

Hai (亥) 9 pm to 11 pm

One of the scattered lamps hanging in the ancient town belongs to no other than the Peng Family Roasted Bean Curd workshop.

The beans are soaked in spring water, ground, curdled, spiced, and then cut into slices.

 

 

Savor the unique tradition of Fengsheng Ancient Town over twelve earthly branch hours. Here, every brick, tile, flower, tree, inhabitant, and scene exudes with millennia of inheritance fused into the present.

This vivacious ancient town of mottled streets and rich custom awaits you for a journey of endless discovery.

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