Kaiding Festival

Source: szns.gov.cnUpdated: 2022-01-25

Kaiding Festival, which originated from old customs in eastern Guangdong, is a traditional folk festival in Dachong Village, Nanshan District, Shenzhen. In early times, it was the custom that people celebrated their boys’ first birthday. Families who give birth to a boy should burn incense and light candles in front of the ancestral shrine around the Lantern Festival of the following year to worship their ancestors. Then they light lanterns and hang them in front of ancestral halls or their houses to pray for prosperity for their families, which is well-known as hanging lanterns. In addition, they invite elders of the same clan, friends and relatives to attend a banquet celebrating the birth of the boy, and some even invite a theatrical troupe to perform, with a view to celebrating the addition of boys. Later, it became the custom to celebrate Kaiding Festival on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar year.

Nowadays, on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar year, Dachong Village celebrates Kaiding Festival with great joy. In the morning, the family giving birth to a boy and their elders of the same clan come to the ancestral hall to burn incense and candles, worship ancestors, light and hang lanterns, and set off firecrackers. At 10 a.m., the kylin team is invited to perform kylin dancing and martial arts in front of the ancestral hall, and many people gather around to watch and cheer from time to time, which brings the atmosphere of the Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival to a climax. At noon, a banquet, generally with 8-10 tables, is served in the ancestral hall, attended by elders over 59 years old and families who have boys, overflowing joy. The family giving birth to a boy also celebrates at home by making food, placing sacrificial offerings, burning incense and candles, worshipping ancestors, and hosting a banquet to entertain visiting friends and relatives.

Less affected by social changes, Dachong Village persists in passing on traditional customs by celebrating Kaiding Festival and keeping the original flavor of the festival. Families giving birth to a boy organize the festival, joined by people on all sides. The coincidence of Kaiding Festival and the Lantern Festival makes two happy events come one after the other, becoming all the more ceremonious and benefiting the long-term cultural inheritance.

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