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Dear Ms. Mary Ma,
I am back from China now and would like to take a moment out of my busy schedule to let you know that your company and your guide Rogin Lee are fantastic. Rogine made my tour of China, his depth of knowledge is incredible and his presentations and introductions were indepth and interesting. Rogin presented China's past and present in a new light. This China tour with Rogin surpassed what I was expecting from any China tour company. I would like to extend my thanks to yourself, Rogin Lee and Mr. Wong, the driver.
Lee A. Gravesen
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We had an absolutely perfect day with our tour guide - Rogin Luo - who took us for a hike along The Great Wall! Didn't know what to expect and were thrilled to have him as our guide. Very imformative, knowledgable and fun! We go to experience a part of The Great Wall that was unrestored and see all its natural beauty. Got a long history lesson along the way! After the hike, we all went to lunch at a small place at the bottom of the hill. Located in a house, we ate lunch in the proprietors bedroom! What a hoot! Rogin is the Best of the Best! This tour company delivered for us and we are extremely grateful.

Westborough, Massachusetts
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Home  »  China Travel Guide  »  China Facts  »  Folk Activities and Arts
Folk Activities and Arts

Top-Spinning (Da Tuoluo) – Chinese Folklore
This game which is basically spinning a top using a whip also has a long history and is widespread among almost all the people, especially for children. In 1926, a top was excavated proving that the game existed 4,000 years ago!

A whip is used to spin the top which can be made of pottery, stone, wood or bamboo. While the tops used by children are small and often colorful, those used in competitions are quite different. Tops formal games usually weigh around 0.45 kilogram and the whips are at least 2 meters long. As you can guess it is difficult to handle them.

Ancient Football (Cuju) – Chinese Folklore
Cuju is the oldest football game in the world. According to historical records, it appeared as far back as the Shang Dynasty (16th century BC-11th century BC) and the equipment was a stone ball which was promoted by the army to build up a strong constitution among the soldiers.
Ancient Football (Cuju) – Chinese Folklore
In the Han Dynasty, it became even more popular and was written into military science of the day. There were no less than 25 versions of the game. It is said that Liu Bang, the Founder Emperor of Han was proud of his father who was quite good at player the ancient football-cuju.

In the southern Song Dynasty, the earliest football club or guild was founded and named “Yuanshe” or “Qiyunshe”. At that time many literary and art works were created on the theme of Cuji, which verified its prosperity. It was fashionable at all levels of society, folk or court, in cities or on the frontier. It was played by adults and children and both men and women. Although women in feudal times were of a low status and were precluded from many social occasions, the playground seemed the exception where they could appear in public.

However, it gradually fell into decline, maybe because of the traditional notion of peace and benevolence. Although Cuju was originally a competitive game people, especially the ruling classes, sought to change its nature to one for amusement.

Today this game has been brought into the sixth China’s National Games of Minority Nationality’s Traditional Sports.

Tug-of-War – Chinese Folklore
This is a traditional game in which all ethnic groups participate with vigor. In the past, it was usually held during the Lantern Festival and between two neighboring villages.

At one time the rope would be made from bamboo but from the Tang Dynasty people began to use twine instead. The main rope often had several branches to enable as many people as possible to join in. the number of branches tied to the main rope has been a hundred or more on occasions and as the contestants tugged to the encouragement of drum beats, the event would be very exciting.

Today, the tug of war is popular at sporting events in schools as well as companies. The game provides people with considerable good natured amusement. However, the team that wins does so not only through strength but with the spirit of cooperation.

Dragon Boat Racing – Chinese Folklore
Many ethnic groups in southern China and the Han people have continue the custom of the Dragon Boat Race for the Dragon Boat Festival. The Zhuang, Miao, Dai, Bai and Tujia people decorate the boats to resemble a dragon and shout their support with drums and gongs. Craftsmen bring their skills to full play with their carving and painting to decorate each boat.
Dragon Boat Racing – Chinese Folklore
Hidden beneath the spectacle of the regatta is a legend from ancient China. There are many versions of the legend of the dragon boat races, but the most frequently heard is the tale of Qu Yuan, a faithful and honest minister of a Chinese king who reigned in the Warring States Period (476BC-221BC) about four centuries before Christ.

Qu Yuan had many fine qualities, but foremost among them was a desire to be a poet, which made him an example of rectitude in an epoch troubled by widespread corruption that extended even as far as the king. Because he was incapable of persuading the king to mend his ways, Qu Yuan tied an enormous rock around himself and threw himself into the waters of the Miluo River in Hunan Province.

Although many attempts were made, his body was never found. Much later, his ghost was seen in the spot where he drowned, telling the people that Qu Yuan would be devoured by monstrous water creatures. As a result, the dragon boat competition became the custom following the rescue of the patriotic poet Qu Yuan.

The dragon boat race often appears as a group item. Nowadays the boat is usually around 20 meters long and 1 meter wide. A participating team will have oarsmen or oarswomen, a coxswain, a gong beater and a drummer. The oarsmen will row and keep stroke, following the rhythmical drumbeats.

Horse Racing – Chinese Folklore
Riding a horse is an essential part of the lifestyle of those ethnic groups of a heroic spirit, especially in the areas of inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, Yunnan , Guizhou and Sichuan. People in those area live mostly on the plains which provide a natural field for the races. There are regional variations of horse racing and the types of competition are diverse.

The main contests involve racing, horsemanship to demonstrate the handling of the mount as well as the ability of the animal achieved through its training, shooting and throwing spears while in the saddle and picking up “haha”, which is along a course that has two sides of over 100-meter-.long along which are 20 hahas; the player has 12 seconds in which to pick them up in order to score a point.

If he exceeds the time limit a point is deducted for each second. The result is decide after tow rounds. Balloons are used as targets for the shooting matches and distance as well as accuracy is an element of the contest. Bamboo spears are thrown at a target placed at some distance from the course.

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