(BPT) - True adventure seekers do not just look to sit on the beach during their next expedition. They aim to fully immerse themselves into a brand new and fascinating culture. If this resonates with your thought process, it's time to pick your next exciting destination. While you're likely constantly flooded by information for cities near and far offering impressive tourist attractions, the million dollar question is: How do you choose the best spot?
Each year, Suzhou, China is home to hundreds of festivals and events, showcasing the culture and diversity of its deep history, which dates back more than 2,500 years. Located in southeastern China, at the center of the Yangtze River Delta and only 60 miles from Shanghai, Suzhou is one of the most popular tourist destinations within China.
There are so many reasons to travel to Suzhou, from UNESCO World Heritage gardens to iconic museums, but it is the thrilling festivals that make this city stand out. When choosing your travel dates, consider aligning them with one of these intriguing events:
Hanshan Temple Bell Ringing Festival
The Hanshan Temple Bell Ringing Festival, which takes place each year on December 31, welcomes the New Year in Suzhou. The Hanshan Temple in Suzhou is one of the 10 most famous temples in China, at more than 1,400 years old. According to the Suzhou legend, each layman has 108 annoyances or inconveniences per year, and each bell tolling can help them dispel one annoyance. Therefore, a person who listens to all 108 bell tolls on the night of the festival will have good luck and happiness in the coming year. For this festival, thousands gather inside and outside the temple to listen to the bell tolls and pray for the upcoming year. Additionally, visitors can taste local delights and experience a wide variety of activities and performances happen during and in between the ringing moments.
The Official Spring Festival (Chinese New Year)
The Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is an even more lively celebration than that of the Western New Year. This holiday season typically falls in February or March and lasts over a week. In 2016, the Chinese New Year is February 8, and with the Spring Festival lasting from February 7 to February 13. This is a time for families to come together and start fresh. They clean their houses, have elaborate dinners, wear new clothes and celebrate with gifts. The high point of this festival is a spectacular fireworks display, which signals the end of the celebration.
Dragon Boat Festival
Although celebrated throughout China, Suzhou hosts one of the country's largest Dragon Boat Festivals on Lake Jinji. In 2016, the event starts on June 9 and runs until June 11. Festivities during the Dragon Boat Festival involve eating Zongzi, a traditional Chinese sticky rice dumpling, and crowds of locals and people from all parts of the world cheer for their favorite brightly-colored, dragon-themed boats while drumming out rhythms to accompany the race. It is said that the winning team ensures a good harvest and prosperity for their village.
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also called the Chinese Moon Festival, is one of the most important annual festivals for the Chinese people. This lively festival takes place on the 15th day of the 8th Chinese lunar month every year and in 2016 it corresponds to September 15. Full of joy and happiness, friends and loved ones gather to celebrate a time when the moon is at its fullest and brightest. Celebrations include indulging in traditional moon cakes and gathering at the Chongyuan Temple for a special ceremony where monks light every light in the temple to pray for good luck. Many locals also light candles and gather in parks as an offering to the Moon Goddess, asking for a happy and healthy life. The best places to get involved with the celebration are The Stone Lake and Baodai Bridge in Suzhou.
With rich history and unique cultural experiences demonstrated by these festivals, there's always something to do in Suzhou. Plan the trip of a lifetime to become an integral part in any of these cherished events. For a complete list of festival and events and to learn more visit traveltosuzhou.com.