Happy Niu Year, part 2

After sitting around my apartment for a day doing stuff like catching up on cataloguing my photos, doing laundry, and writing blog posts, it seemed like a good time to go out and see some of the festivities. I wanted to go somewhere I haven’t been before, so I got out the maps and guide books looking for temples. I picked Miaoying (妙应), which is famous for its big white dagoba. I walked from the subway station to the temple.
As you can see, the place was nearly deserted. No Temple Fair at this temple. Still, I was there, so I checked it out.
It’s not a large complex, and only took a half hour or so to see it all.

In 2006 for my first Spring Festival in Beijing, I visited Baiyunguan (白云观). It’s in the same part of town as Miaoying, so I decided to give it a try. Since I already posted pictures of it from the previous visit, I’ll pick different things this time. Refer to the older post for other views.

Just inside the gate, there are a couple of gongs hanging under a little bridge. People buy copper “coins” to throw at it. The noise is said to drive away evil spirits.
And here’s another local tradition. You stand at a distance of ten meters or so from this bronze urn, close your eyes, and walk to it. Many people bring an offering of incense.
When you get to it, you rub the dragon’s face.
Many people also buy prayer ribbons, write little wishes on them, and hang them in the trees.
As a modern twist, many of them then take a picture of their prayer hanging in the tree.

All in all, Baiyunguan was not very crowded.
Here is a detail of a marble plaque located to the right of the little stage in the previous picture.
Two years ago, there was a big market area set up outside the north exit of the temple, but this year that street was empty of anything except cars and the occasional pedestrian. I don’t know if they relocated the vendors to someplace else or what. And I was looking forward to some chuanr!

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