Chongqing- The first “Fire Dragon” Tourism Culture Festival kicked off in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality on January 27. Many brilliant cultural shows were held, especially folk-custom activities such as the opening ceremony of the fire dragon, the fire dragon parade, and the fire dragon burning performance.
Accompanied by gongs, drums, and cheers, the night of Zhong’ao Town in Dazu County was ablaze with a spectacular firework display. More than 30,000 people gathered, dancing with the dragon and diving into the show, which brought the event to a climax.
As one of the hometowns of the fire dragon, Zhong’ao was rich in history and culture. Seven hundred years ago, a loyal county leader marched south to fight the enemy and died heroically. The villagers thus burnt fire dragons every year to commemorate him. Over time, it evolved into a unique folk cultural custom of praying for good luck. Nowadays, it has become a vital part of the “Fire Dragon” Tourism Culture Festival.
The fire dragon is far more than a performance. “Courage is the trait of the fire dragon. No matter how hot it is, you can’t throw the handle of a dragon,” said a proud dragon dancer. As the dragon symbolizes the Chinese nation, the fire dragon embodies people’s courage and cooperation and represents folk customs and local culture. Because of these multiple meanings, "Zhong'ao dragon" was included in the intangible cultural heritage of Chongqing in 2012.
Besides experiencing the fire dragon, visitors can also go to nearby bases to collect fruit, view the sea of flowers, or go fishing. The festival will last until the end of March 20. At a time of general rejoicing over the new year and warm spring, it is predicted that about 100,000 visitors will come to Zhong'ao the festival. This will significantly invigorate the development of Dazu's culture and tourism industry.
(Liu Wenting, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)
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