Ditan Park Temple Fair

During Chinese New Year celebration some of the public parks have special temple fairs. Beijing has 4 traditional parks outside the former city wall: The Temple of the Sun (Ritan) in the East, the Temple of the Moon (Yuetan) in the West, the Temple of the Earth (Ditan) in the North and the most famous one is the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan) in the South. The only one of these 4 with a temple fair is the Ditan Park. So we went there by bike. That was a good choice because there was a huge traffic jam getting to the park. This picture is at the traffic light just before the park. It needs to be mentioned that the car on the right side has a green light and the pedestrians currently have a red light and should not be on the street:

Traffic Jam

I find it interesting that the girl in the center of the following picture is carrying a stick with an inflatable pile of orange-brown shit. What a weird thing to buy at a temple fair. And what do you do with it?

Shit on a Stick

On the way to the Ditan South gate the guards shouted that all the park entrance tickets have been sold out and we should all go to the East or North gates. At the East gate there was a huge line for the tickets so that we decided to rather have lunch outside the park and go in afterwards hoping it to be more empty.

We went to a hotpot restaurant and ordered „Old Beijing“style hotpot soup. When that arrived we were a bit confused to find little crabs and sea urchin as a seasoning in the soup. That is the last thing we imagined as Beijing is so far away from the ocean. It tasted a bit strange to have the thin lamb and beef meet cooked in the seafoody soup.

Tiny Seasoning Crabs

Sea Urchin Seasoning

After lunch there were no people at the gate to buy tickets and even inside it seemed quite empty. It must have been crazy earlier.

Temple Fair

People were really interested in buying cow hats as it is now the year of the cow.

Cow Hat Vendor

But not only cow hats seem to be the new fashion. There were so many booths selling all kinds of new hats especially animal hats:

New Fashion

There were different kind of performances, like this traditional long sleeve dance from a minority group from South China (maybe Tibet):

Traditional Minority Group Dance

In the center of the Ditan park is the traditional altar. Here you could wait in line to sing a karaoke song of your choice for everybody like this guy standing in front of the pink background:

Karaoke and Altar

And if you had the impression that you did not sing well or if you just want to ask for forgiveness for wearing a stupid hat or just to hope all will be well in this new year then you could buy some incense sticks and pray on top of the altar:


Chinese do not have much unemployment. They are creative in finding things that people can do. Like the guy on the left side in this following picture is holding a sign that says exit. I imagine it to be boring standing there the whole day…

Exit Sign Holding Specialist

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