So we have recently switched to posting on our blogs via email, because the Great Firewall has inconveniently blocked blogging sites in preparation for the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. More on that later…
Today, however, I'll post a little about the Duan Wu Festival – literally meaning the summer solstice according to the Chinese calendar – but more popularly known as the Dragon Boat Festival. This year marks the first time China has made it a national holiday – a way to ease the travel strains during the other parts of the year, and also to reintroduce some traditions that had been repressed during the building of the Communist Party.
Since we both had the day off, we spent it hiking up Baochu hill, a hillside park that separates our neighborhood from West Lake. Luckily the weather isn't killer hot yet, and we saw lots of families and elderly people spending their day off here as well – everybody seemed well prepared with tea, snacks, games, taichi equipment, yoyos, portable radios for dancing lessons, or just a newspaper.
Pictured here is an instructor of the Gong Fu Fan – actually she's teaching the same routine that I learned! One great thing about China is just how communal everything is – so anyone can stop to observe or participate in park activities. I especially like the looks of concentration on her students' faces – I'm sure I've had a similar look on my face when learning this routine!