Tai'an locals celebrate annual Bridge Climbing Festival

(chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2024-02-27


The annual Bridge Climbing Festival attracts villagers from miles away. [Photo by Sui Xiang for chinadaily.com.cn]

The annual Paqiao Festival, or Bridge Climbing Festival, kicked off in Jiuxian county, Qiujiadian town, Taishan district, Tai'an, on Feb 25, which was the 16th day of the first lunar month.

Villagers from miles away gathered on the Jiuxian County Bridge to walk back and forth, praying for a year of favorable weather and peace.

The bridge, now known as the Mouwen River Bridge, overlooks Mount Tai to the north and connects to Culai Mountain to the south. To the south of the bridge lies Culai town, and to the north lies the Qianjiuxian village of Qiujiadian town.

On the day of the festival, drum teams, stilt walkers, and yangko dance troupes, organized spontaneously by villagers, set out from Qianjiuxian village, playing drums, performing dragon and yangko dances, and walking on stilts.

The festival is now recognized as a city-level intangible cultural heritage item. It originated during the Longqing period of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and is a unique folk custom of the Jiuxian county area in Qiujiadian town and surrounding villages.

The bridge connects the two banks of the Wenhe River, bridging the emotions of the villagers and helping preserve folk culture.

The most notable thing about this year's festival is the participation of many young performers. Twelve-year-old Zhai Jiarui on the drum team and 8-year-old stilt walker Sun Yi signify that those traditional skills, which have been passed down through generations, have found new successors.


Villagers spontaneously perform the yangko dance in celebration of the Bridge Climbing Festival in Tai'an. [Photo/Tai'an Daily]


Many young performers are seen at this year's Bridge Climbing Festival in Tai'an. [Photo/Tai'an Daily]