Richer China Looks To Past For Holiday Fun
Jostling crowds stare as a young man in imperial robes mounts an altar and kowtows to tablets representing his ancestors and several holy mountains, before offering up silk and symbolic sacrificial animals.
But drifting over the solemn ceremony are the sounds of stand-up comedians and a break-dance routine, reminders that the man is just an actor pulling crowds into the biggest of Beijing’s temple fairs, traditional entertainment for the Lunar New Year.
After 30 years of economic reform, China is rich enough that the hunger for modernity among the emerging middle classes is being tempered by a growing nostalgia for the past.
“This gives us a chance to see what traditional Chinese culture was like, how the emperor worshipped,” said 70-year-old Zang Wenquan, an atheist computer scientist watching the sacrificial ceremony for the second time in as many days.