Children's Festival in Shitang
chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-08-05Print Print
A senior Shitang resident offers sacrifices to weaver girl to pray for the health and safety of her children at the Children's Festival, which falls on the seventh day of the seventh moon each year. [Photo/zjtz.gov.cn]
The Children's Festival in Shitang and Ruoshan, two towns in Wenling county, Taizhou city, originated in South Fujian nearly 300 years ago.
Folk Customs in Fujian and Taiwan records that "weaver girl", a celestial being in Chinese mythology, is regarded as the guardian angel of children in South Fujian and her birthday is said to fall on the seventh day of the seventh moon, when families in South Fujian offer sacrifices to her to pray for the health and safety of their children.
Shitang's Children's Festival follows this custom.
Before the festival, Shitang residents prepare a colorful pavilion or sedan chair out of paper for children under 16 years old. These are often made by local paper craftsmen with bamboo canes, colorful paper, and mud.
The pavilion is usually decorated with images of buddhist goddess Guanyin, weaver girl, and a variety of Chinese opera characters.
One of the most important aspects of the pavilion is the depiction of a man on his way to take the imperial examination in Beijing. He is carrying an umbrella in his hand and a cloth-wrapper on his back. This figure embodies parents' hopes for a successful future for their children.