During Chinese New Year we made several visits to see the festival action out in Yu County, Hebei Province.
In the area are several ancient towns and fortresses that fill up with performers and visitors during Chinese New Year, making it a very lively and interesting place to visit.
As well as traditional performances of opera, we also saw an evening performance of Dashuhua, where molten iron is flung against tall walls to create a shower of sparks!
As far as we can tell, the Dashuhua performance is only seen in this area, and only during Chinese New Year!
Read on to see photos from the performance, and of the other sights we saw while we were out and about.
“Tanghulu” – hawthorns and apricots coated with a sugary glaze, a traditional Northern Chinese winter snack.
Taking a break from selling his wares.
Antiques and old family treasures for sale on the streets.
The entrance to an ancient fortress.
Waiting for a performance to begin.
The entrance to the fortress, through thick walls.
Youngsters enjoying the festivities.
And the oldsters out for a look as well.
Get a view of the performance any way you can!
People watching the performance.
The performance was popular.
The local style of opera is called Hebei Bangzi.
Acting out a story on stage.
A view of the show, from the ‘VIP’ section.
A view from the walls above – the ‘VIP’ section!
Incense and charms for sale.
We spotted a “horse kid” running to get to his performance.
Another “horse kid”.
More local performers.
We were trying to pick some old molten iron off the ancient fortress wall.
The beginning of the Dashuhua performance.
Dancers on the stage.
Two people carry in a bucket of molten iron; another flings it up to splash against the wall.
It’s said that this type of performance originated as a replacement for fireworks.
The city wall and temple at Yu County were originally built in .
Climbing up to the temple.
Inside the first courtyard of the temple.
Hikers and local tourists enjoying the sun on the wall beside the temple.
Trying some of the local snacks.
Eat up, kids!
We walked from the old part of the city to the more modern area.
Big street sweepers.
Sample some street food.