Temple fairs are popular Spring Festival activities across China. Traditionally the fairs were for worshiping, but today they are more of a business activity.
Located on Andingmen Outer Avenue, Ditan Temple is one of the most well-known temple fairs. Ditan Park encloses the Altar of the Earth. Originally called the Fangze Altar, it was built in 1530 during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and used by emperors during ceremonies to worship the God of the Earth.
It is the country’s last remaining altar for worshipping the God of the Earth.
From 1531 to 1911, 14 emperors used it as a place of sacrifice. At that time, worshipping the gods of Heaven and Earth was considered an essential religious activity with roots in prehistoric agricultural production.
In 1985, the first modern temple fair was held at Ditan Park. Since then, the park has been hosting the annual fair. The temple offers a variety of Chinese foods from northwestern China’s chuan’r to southern China’s dim sun. Visitors can also see traditional performances like lion dances, xiangsheng comedy and Peking opera.
A re-enactment of the ceremony to worship the Earth God is held at 10 am every day during the holiday.