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Dressing up in the past
By Tan Weiyun

Wearing long traditional Chinese robes and dynasty hairstyles, a group of young people will celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival emulating their forebears centuries ago.

They will gather in Zuibai Pond Park on September 19 and re-enact ancient rituals worshiping the moon and nature.

“We are encouraging every participant to wear the costumes all the way to the park,” said Niu Geng, event initiator and founder of the Phoenix Chinese Traditional Clothes Club. “We are telling them they shouldn’t be shy about being seen out on the streets. It’s quite cool.”

Those who wear traditional clothes will get free admission to the park. People are asked not to wear the qipao, or long close-fitting dress popular from 1912 to 1949, or the magua, the mandarin jacket of the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), because those styles are too “modern,” Niu said.

In the park’s Bonsai Garden, 100 lanterns will be hung, each posted with a riddle. People who guess the riddle right will win small prizes.

Lunch will be a picnic on the lawn, where people can share Chinese wines and mooncakes they bring to the park.

The afternoon will feature a show performed by those in costume. “Anything will be okay,” said Niu. “Those who don’t have a talent to perform can just give a brief introduction to the clothes they are wearing.”

At night when the moon has risen, the worship rituals will begin. In ancient China, people sometimes called the moon yuelao, or smiling old matchmaker.

It was a tradition that night for single young men and women to burn joss sticks and candles in the moonlight, praying to yuelao for a happy marriage.

“We will revive the tradition this year,” Niu said, with a romantic smile. “Luckily, we’ve got many young people, around 60. I do hope something good comes of it.”

Date: September 19, 9am–5:20pm

Venue: Zuibai Pond Park

Address: 64 Renmin Rd S.

Admission: 12 yuan

How to get there: Zuibai Pond Park Station on Metro Line 9

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