Amy Sullivan from the United States joins a dragon dance team at Taibo Temple on Feb 13. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
The following day, we are back at Taibo Temple. Now the rain has stopped, everyone is able to get a better feel for the ancient temple and its stunning architecture.
For many, the temple is not just a tourist attraction; it is an important religious site where people come to pray for the spirits of their ancestors.
Overwhelmed by the smell of burning incense, I join my group as we head into one of the temple's courtyards. It has a strikingly different atmosphere to the noise and festivities taking place outside. Visitors are quiet and respectful, with many getting down on their knees to worship.
Later, after the serenity of our early morning temple visit, we are offered a truly unique opportunity ––taking part in the fair's traditional carnival parade!
As we walk among people on carnival floats, many of us are struck by the friendliness of the crowds lining the streets, with some of the younger members calling out in English to us.
It seems that the whole community has a part to play in the parade, with people of all ages walking the route around the temple area. Our group is even given Spring Festival couplets to carry, making us feel truly part of the event.