The Chinese New Year this year, welcoming the year of the Sheep, was a great opportunity to get out of the capital city, Beijing, and see the holiday from a very different perspective. Not only is the Province of Sichuan ethnically different, with many more ethnic minorities, including a very large Tibetan population, but the practice of religion is much more widespread, the history is quite distinct from that of Beijing, the landscape and climate are incredibly different, and, perhaps above all else, it is simply not as urban and the attitude of most of the people I encountered reflected that.
Everyone was so busy either being a tourist or doing their own holiday thing, that it was a great opportunity for me to watch people, and simply be a more or less ignored observer.
So, a “People of Sichuan” series.
The New Year events, such as the light and lantern festival, and the traditional performances, attract people from all walks of life. The festivals seem to be held in parks, temples, or other such public spaces.
Biking is, indeed, a fairly common form of transportation in dense urban areas, such as downtown Chengdu, the provincial capital.
A fairly universal characteristic of Chinese cities is the virtual armies of orange clad public employees sweeping the streets.
This group of young monks seemed to be on a sort of pilgrimage to see, and pray to, the giant Buddha at Leshan.Â
Playing cards where three rivers join in the city of Yibin.
Fruit seller at the night market, the night before New Year’s Eve, Yibin.Â
A Buddhist nun preparing for that evening’s New Year celebration at the temple.Â
A team of chefs, members of the minority from Xinjiang, famous for their lamb kabobs.Â
Hanging out at People’s Park at the heart of Chengdu.
Maintaining public order, on Segway.Â
People’s Park, Chengdu.Â
New Year’s Day celebration and performances at Wuhou Temple, Chengdu.