Folk Tourism

New Year celebration in Yulin, northern Shaanxi

Yulin of Northern Shaanxi is located in the border of Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, and Shanxi, as a result of which Yulin has diverse culture and unique customs. Now, it still retains original and authentic customs for celebrating the Spring Festival.

When the last lunar month comes, people start to do special purchases for the Spring Festival and store food… They are busy with all kinds of preparation for welcoming the New Year’s Eve.

On the 23rd day of the last lunar month, the celebration is officially started.

New Year’s Eve is called “End of Month” in Northern Shaanxi. People are the busiest that day. Window blossoms are put on windows and then glue poetic couplets, red lanterns are hung on top of every household. The couplets in red, red window blossoms, and red lanterns instantly bring warmth to all households. The mountain area takes on a scene where people celebrate the past year and welcome the New Year.

When it’s getting late, all households begin to prepare for the New Year’s Eve banquet. People are very particular about the banquet. It is needless to say that the banquet should include dishes of chicken, duck, fish, and meat. All the more, home cooked mutton stew and home brewed yellow millet wine are also included. Before the New Year’s Eve banquet, people set up firecrackers, burn joss sticks, and pray to gods and ancestors. Afterward, the banquet is officially started. People eat meat and drink wine to their hearts’ content. Once in a while, they also start singing. During the New Year’s Eve, people also have the habit of keeping watching at night and playing with the whole family.

When cocks crow for the first time, people try to be the first to set up firecrackers to welcome the Kitchen God. They start to make dough for cooking dumplings. They would put some coins into the dumplings. Whoever eats the dumplings with coins will be predicted to enjoy happiness. 

People stay at home on the first day of the Spring Festival. On the second day, they visit relatives, and married women visit their parents. On the third day, people from all villages play Yangko and celebrate the Spring Festival.

On the morning of the third day, the Yangko team starts to go and visit every household (paying a New Year call by playing Yangko for every household), during which time the team leader would recall old memories, improvise appropriate lyrics, and sing the song to the host who would keep offering cigarettes and propose a toast to everyone and give out liquor-saturated dates and peanuts. As the host sets up firecrackers to see off the guests, the Yangko team would go to visit the next household…

Before and after the 15th day of the first month of the lunar year, all counties and municipal districts of Yulin City would also gather people around to give a performance of Yangko. For a short while, various Yangko teams would show their unique techniques and give a wonderful performance.

Happy Time at the Temple Fair 

Temple fairs are over all urban and rural areas in northern Shaanxi. Starting from the first day of the first month of every lunar year, pilgrims gather around the White Cloud Mountain located alongside the riverbank of the Yellow River. Those who offer incense to Buddha and redeem their vows would come in an endless stream.

The Lantern Festival Celebration on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar year

The Lantern Festival is the most joyful day in Yulin during the Spring Festival. The Yangko teams that have gone out to pay a visit to every household have come back hurriedly during this time. Eating rice glue balls, playing Yangko, Zhuan Jiu Qu (a folk activity), viewing the lanterns, and letting off fireworks are the activities unique in this land. 

On the 15th day of the first month of the lunar year, lanterns are hung at every household, and people enjoy themselves. The annual Yangko performances in every county and town push the New Year celebration to its climax. It can be said that the whole town turns out to the performances and that throngs of people move like tides. The Yangko, waist drum, and Shehuo, which are selected by every county and village, pack the streets and alleys in all the counties and towns with celebrations. During the Lantern Festival, the night sky is dazzling. Da Hua Gan is enchanting in the rural area of Suide and Mizhi. A 30-meter thick rod is bundled with more than 100 types of fireworks and firecrackers and is vertically fixed on the ground of the village. With the order, a fire dragon soars up to the sky, with an immediate display of fireworks and a sea of lanterns. The sky is blazing with color and looks very spectacular. The hospital people bring out hot rice wine and sing the intoxicating Shaanxi Local Melody again and again. 

Special delicious foods waiting for you 

Celebrating the Spring Festival in Yulin, northern Shaanxi, is far more than a visual feast of red. The strong sense of the New Year also lies in the making of the New Year food and drinks… People in northern Shaanxi show to the full their excellence at cooking at the time of ringing out the Old Year and ringing in the New Year. Delicious foods full of the Spring Festival taste are all called the New Year Food and Drinks. Its main ingredients are mostly food grains other than wheat and rice. They are full of various trace elements and dietary fibers, which modern people are in pursuit of. When cooked with rich meat and taken with high-protein beans, they not only taste good but also keep people in good health. 

Enjoy watching folk performance to the full 

Influenced by the surrounding Guansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, and Shanxi, local customs and practices in Yulin are old and simple, while they are full of wonderful overtones. The most wonderful is extremely unique traditional customs and practices among different counties and municipal districts. 

The folk donkey game in Dingbian County is a type of folk cultural activity in the surrounding area of Anbian Town, Dingbian County. 

In the first month of every lunar year, when the donkey game is on, people of all ethnic groups from the surrounding area make joint efforts to participate in the donkey game. A traditional donkey game includes donkey walking, donkey running and other such events. In recent years, to entertain the masses, the game has also included donkeys’ tug of war, donkey riding, relay race by donkey riding, donkey driving by married couples, etc. The scale of the game has become bigger and bigger. The game has gradually evolved into a folk cultural brand that incorporates commerce and trade, tourism, appreciation, and entertainment. 

Qing Jian Dao Qing (an artistic form that people sing folk songs at the square), Er Ren Tai Song and Dance Duet in Fugu, Farming in Chiniuwa of Jiaxian County and other such cultural and folk exhibitions and performances will also be an audio-visual feast for your eyes. 

In Yulin, northern Shaanxi, the New Year celebration is unique in its folk-customs, flourishing and boisterous. 

Pack up your bags and join your friends and family to visit Yulin and have an in-depth experience of “New Year celebration in Yulin, northern Shaanxi!”

(The New Year celebration means the celebration of the Spring Festival. Chinese people have celebrated the Spring Festival for more than 4,000 years. The Spring Festival in the traditional sense refers to the time period from the 23th day of the twelfth month of the previous lunar year to the 19th day of the first month of the next lunar year.)