The story appears on

Page B2

December 29, 2012

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » District » Xuhui

Striking the bell to ring in happy new year

ONE of the biggest New Year's Eve attractions is striking the big bronze bell at Longhua Temple to leave bad karma behind and wish for luck, prosperity and happiness in the New Year.

A big party with fireworks is planned at the famous, 1,000-year-old Buddhist temple starting at 10pm in Longhua Town in Xuhui District. It includes a welcoming ceremony, traditional music concert, lion and dragon dances, riddle-guessing, and exhibition of ancient musical instruments and Buddhist relics.

Starting at 11:32pm, VIPs strike the 3.3-ton bell in the countdown to midnight, from one to 108, the 108th strike being the most auspicious and expensive, and the first also being lucky and costly.

From midnight to 2am, the public can ring bells. Admission is 200 yuan (US$32).

Many people pay admission and then an additional 318 yuan to strike the bell after midnight until 2am.

Festivities continue on New Year's Day.

More 100,000 visitors attend every year and the ceremony is a major tourist attraction.

The Buddhist temple and 108-countdown is a magnet for VIPs and those who want to show off their wealth and status.

Last year, VIP tickets cost a minimum of 2,012 yuan (for the year 2012) to take part in the 108 rings. It's first-come-first-serve, though some VIP tickets are reserved in advance.

This year Shanghai Deputy Mayor Zhao Wen will deliver the 108th strike at midnight.

Proceeds from ticket sales, especially VIP tickets, help finance the temple's operations and some is donated to charity.

Bell tolling began more than 20 years ago at Longhua Temple, which also features a magnificent pagoda and ceremonial halls. The temple, which has been rebuilt many times, is the biggest and oldest Buddhist temple in the city.

The event begins around 10pm when the abbot delivers a speech to welcome visitors and express hope for a peaceful new year. Then 108 lucky bell-strikers line up and each is belted by the abbot. Tolling begins as the monks begin chanting and the resonant sound is said to drive evil away. "A ringing bell keeps troubles away," it is said.

With each striking of the bell, fireworks are set off and the night is filled with color, light and cheers.

The number 108 is considered very auspicious, signifying a prosperous country and harmonious, peaceful society. The number 108 is the sum of 12 months, 24 solar terms and 72 pentads, or five-day periods in the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

In Buddhism 108 is a sacred number. It is said that people must experience 108 kinds of difficulties in life and each striking of the bell can banish a difficulty. Ringing the bell helps people on their way to enlightenment. There were also 108 legendary elders, so striking the great bell 108 times is a sign of esteem.

The temple was first built during the Wu Kingdom in the Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220-280) and reached its height of prosperity during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).

The temple is also the repository for Buddhist scriptures, seals, statues and artwork from the Tang Dynasty, Five Dynasties (AD 907-979), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Bell ringing celebration

Venue: Longhua Temple

Address: 2853 Longhua Rd, Xuhui District

Date: December 31, 10pm. Bell ringing starts at 11:32pm and continues to 2pm.

Admission: 200 yuan for spectators, 518 yuan for bell ringing

Tel: 6407-0098


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend