Temple of Heaven re-creates ancient ritual


Updated: 2013-02-13

Modern and traditional cultures collide and coexist. It is full of festive activities as its residents celebrate the lunar New Year.

Present day Beijing transformed into imperial China. More than a thousand people gathered at the Temple of Heaven Monday for a re-enactment of an ancient ritual - the heaven worshipping ceremony. The practice was commonplace during the Qing Dynasty from 1644 to 1911.

"It was really colorful and nice. I enjoyed it a lot. I liked the costumes. It was our first time to see that. It was great. "

Hundreds of performers, dressed in period costumes, played the roles of officials and bodyguards and even the emperor himself.

"During the Qing Dynasty, emperors would come here to pray for a good harvest. But today, it’s regular people coming to kick off the year of the snake."

The full day of events also featured musical performances of ancient Chinese melodies.

"The performance revealed that there is a real connection between modern and ancient music. It also gave me a better understanding about the theme of the festivities. "

While the performances made it seem like just another day in imperial China, the event has been in the works for quite some time.

Wu Caijun, Director of Temple of Heaven, Historical Relic Div., said, "It’s been an entire month since we started choreographing the performance, recruiting actors and doing rehearsals."

But organizers say spending the time to everything just right is a must, since the performance only happens during the Spring Festival and it’s the one time of year visitors get to go back in time.