On Friday 23 February I had the pleasure of visiting Mentougou District, just outside Beijing, and discovering New Year’s Market. I found it to be a very beautiful place, nicely framed by the surrounding mountains and full of life.

The Diplomatic Service Bureau hosted a whole range of guests from embassies all over the world and I was lucky enough to be one of them.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day. There were some amazing performances that were mesmerizing to watch: powerful drums being played, martial arts demonstrations by young and old, and of course a beautiful Chinese dragon, as this is the year of that animal.

The new year’s market was full of delightful local products and I loved the way the organizers had created a passport in which you had to collect stamps. That led you to a rally throughout the town which yielded even more surprises: nice coffee bars, a vintage shop, an adventure land for kids, and a beautiful exhibition called Tamen. Here are some pictures of those costumes and of the other activities. I hope to be able to return soon to discover more and also explore the surrounding hills.

[Text by Bart Vodderie, Deputy Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium]

Folk show performance [Photo via Bart Vodderie]

Hanfu parade performers [Photo via Bart Vodderie]

Face-changing [Photo via Bart Vodderie]

A folk show performer [Photo via Bart Vodderie]

Dragon Dance equipment [Photo via Bart Vodderie]

A folk show performer [Photo via Bart Vodderie]