I love nature. Looking at trees, flowers and so on fills me with a pure sense of wonder and enjoyment. Even in a crowded, bustling city, we can always find beautiful flowers, that grow tall, blissfully unaware of the concrete structures, people and traffic surrounding them.

Weekly photo challenge: pure ūüėä

Village life in China exhibition 

Yesterday I visited an art gallery in Zhengzhou and there were some fascinating photos of daily life in rural China. While the photos may appear hundreds of years old, the exhibition ranged from the 1960s to the present. It’s amazing how time seems to stand still in rural China!

outdoor class

Can you imagine having to stand outside for hours on end with a blackboard around your neck to do your lessons? Is this what they do all day long at this school or do they actually have classrooms to sit down in and time to run around and play? Unfortunately, this photo was not dated in the exhibit, so I can only guess at the year it was taken. It reminds me of a visit I had to a Victorian school (in England) but the style of the clothes the children are wearing in this photo is more modern… Either way, I would not have enjoyed spending my childhood like this!

on the way to the fields

The tag with this photo at the gallery explained that the people were university graduates from a big city, who had been encouraged to help the farmers after finishing college. The life of the peasant farmers was idealized in the 1960s, so I’m sure the students were glad to leave the big city to experience a different way of life, although I imagine they had to work extremely hard on the farm! I wonder if these young people returned to the city after a few years, or if they stayed in their new village for the rest of their lives? 

Would you believe that this photo was taken in the 1990s? China has developed a lot since then. There are still many small villages, but I think housing made from bricks has been provided for most of the population now. What an interesting way of life though, selling soup or porridge to your neighbors from outside your straw house, and travelling everywhere by donkey and cart!

(I linked this post with the daily post prompt for the day, as the first photo depicts childhood.)



This week’s photo challenge from the Daily Post is “jubilant.” This word conjures up images in my mind of celebration, rejoicing and enjoyment. Here is a photo with me and some students, looking quite jubilant with some balloons… We had a fun afternoon of enjoyment and feeling like kids again! Don’t take life too seriously, rejoice and be jubilant!

(The two boys are good at balloon modeling and taught me and the girl how to make some too.)



Festivals in China 

China has many many many festivals that they celebrate! The Spring festival (Chinese new year) is probably the most famous of these. But there are many other, lesser known festivals that I’m sure you will find interesting. 
Modern festivals:

1) May 20th (I start with this one, as it happened just a few days ago). It’s called 520, “wu er ling” in Chinese, and is like a mini Valentine’s Day, because apparently wu er ling sounds similar to the Chinese phrase “wo ai ni” which means “I love you”. (I don’t know who decided this, but it must have been a shopkeeper, as I’m sure this is just a shopping festival…)

wu er ling!

2) 11/11. Double eleven is Singles’ day, where single people can be happy that they don’t have boyfriends or girlfriends. It also happens to be a shopping festival, with billions and billions of RMB being spent on discounted goods online…

3) Christmas Eve. Not really a Chinese festival, but Christmas has become popular in China in recent years, where people will give apples to their friends on Christmas Eve. This is because the Chinese for apple, “ping guo” sounds similar to the Chinese word for Christmas Eve, “ping an ye”, meaning peaceful night, and apples are also symbolic of safety and peace.

Christmas Eve apples

4) Chinese people have also begun to celebrate “Western new year” (January 1st) in recent years. Although it isn’t as important as their own Spring Festival.

Ancient festivals: 

1) Dragon boat festival. A fun festival, where people will race along rivers or lakes in dragon boats and eat steamed rice dumplings called zongzi. This festival is to commemorate Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet.

2) Winter solstice (on December 21st) has been celebrated for thousands of years. People make and eat dumplings to celebrate this festival. 

3) Mid-Autumn festival. The date of this festival follows the lunar calendar, and usually occurs in October. On this day, Chinese people will eat moon cakes and look at the moon. There is a story about a woman called Chang E who lives on the moon, so I guess people will say hello to her on this day.

moon cakes

4) 7/7. Double seven is Chinese Valentine’s Day, and also follows the lunar calendar. It celebrates the story of a man and a goddess, who fell in love but were forever separated by the queen of heaven, who didn’t approve of them, so made a river form between them. Once a year, a flock of birds form a bridge between them, so they can meet for one romantic day.

5) Qingming festival happens in April every year. This is called tomb-sweeping festival, and families will visit and sweep their ancestors’ graves.

6) Spring Festival, in case you don’t know, is Chinese New Year. It happens on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar. During this festival, people will visit their relatives, decorate their houses, make and eat dumplings, give “lucky money”, wear red (a lucky colour) and set off fireworks to celebrate the new year. The festival lasts for 2 weeks! And really is the most important of the Chinese festivals.
If I think of more Chinese festivals, I will write about them later. ūüėä