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ZHOUZHUANG, China, February 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chinese water town of Zhouzhuang received more than 200,000 tourists during the 2016 Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, a 9.3 percent year on year increase from 2015.

The celebrations for the Year of the Monkey were held from February 8-22 and featured over 10 ceremonies and events including da chun niu, welcoming the God of Wealth, Spring Festival bazaars and more.

Zhouzhuang saw a significant increase in the number of visitors in the first two months of 2016, with 47,200 people joining the New Year's Day celebrations on January 1, a 24.21 percent year on year increase from the 38,000 in 2015.

"We had a strong start this year," said Mr. Zhang, general manager of Jiangsu Water-town Zhouzhuang Tourism Company. "In addition to the classic festival ceremonies and activities, we brought back more folk customs from the original lifestyle that attracted visitors from across China and around the world. The historical and cultural heritage of Zhouzhuang is not only reflected in the big ceremonies and spectacles, but also the details in everyday life that show how the locals celebrate traditional festivals."

For example, a ceremony paying tribute to the Kitchen God was held the night before Lunar New Year's Eve where visitors joined locals in the special countryside custom that wishes for happiness, good luck and fortune in the upcoming New Year. On February 7, the day of Lunar New Year's Eve, Quanfu Temple rang the bell and burned incense after midnight in prayer for a better future.

Li Ping and her family chose to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Zhouzhuang especially for the folk traditions and customs. "We attended the welcoming the God of Wealth and the waterway parade celebrations to learn the story of the famous Ming Dynasty businessman Shen Wansan. It was new for my son who hadn't had a true and traditional Spring Festival experience as we come from Shanghai," Li said.

Other customs such as eating round foods like san wei yuan (savory soup with wheat gluten balls) and fu an su (a puff pastry with a rose petal paste filling) and doing Spring Festival shopping on Quanfu Road were also highly popular among visitors.

The holiday season ended with the Lantern Festival on February 22 that featured events including the lantern show and lantern riddle party.

The New Year's Day celebration and 15-day Lunar New Year carnival brought not only the best wishes for the New Year, but also a unique folk experience.

"More visitors came to Zhouzhuang for traditional festival celebrations because we are devoted to preserving the ancient life and lifestyle, it represents a nostalgic dream for many Chinese people as well as a window for international friends to get a glimpse of the ancient Chinese history and culture," Zhang said.

About Zhouzhuang

Known as 'the Venice of the East', Zhouzhuang welcomes three million visitors every year, who come for the natural scenery, historical and cultural heritage and rich folk customs. Zhouzhuang is also one of the only two Chinese locations listed on the New York Times "World's 52 Places to go in 2015."


Zou Lei

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