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Peach of a time in peach blossom season

THE Shanghai Peach Blossom Festival runs from today through April 12 in Nanhui District. There are not only flowers galore but also a food gala, folk arts, an old town and more tourist lures, reports Tan Weiyun

To Chinese, peaches mean longevity, prosperity and luck in love, so lovers and hopeful who want to improve their odds will be holding hands under blossoming peach trees in Nanhui District starting today.

The annual Shanghai Peach Blossom Festival runs through April 12 and there are 6,667 hectares of peach groves, with trees in full blossom. In Nanhui Flower Port, the multicolored tulips are in full bloom.

Many Chinese folk stories say lovers who meet under a blossoming peach tree will be very lucky in love.

Nanhui District is the largest peach-planting area in eastern China and has several charming villages. Visitors can wander about the countryside, meet hospitable farm families, sample local delicacies, take a lazy boat ride and enjoy demonstrations of folk arts, crafts and music.

"This year's winter was warmer than previous years, which accelerates the blooming," said Song Qingjun, the Nanhui government spokesman. "As the temperature rises, the flowers are coming into their full bloom."

Last year's big snowstorms delayed the blooming.

Nanhui's flower fete is in its 19th year and the festival has become a delightful part of city residents' springtime itineraries. Last year more than 500,000 visitors enjoyed the blossoms; more than 600,000 are expected this year.

In Chinese culture, the peach blossom, with its dainty pink petals, symbolizes longevity, growth and prosperity. The flower is said to protect people from evil spirits. But its mythical love-potion qualities are most endeared it to the Chinese people.

Nanhui has four big peach villages in Datuan, Laogang (Binhai Resorts), Xinchang and Huinan towns where visitors appreciate the rosy landscape and celebrate the return of spring.

But the flower carnival is just part of the fun.

Winter-weary visitors can stroll quiet countryside paths lined with willowy bamboo or take a slow boat on interlaced canals to get a view of towns and villages on the water.

Tourists can also venture into the homes of hospitable farmers and indulge themselves in local delicacies such as the district's famed melons, free-range chicken, and glutinous-rice pastry.

There are lion dances, stilt walking, paper-cut demonstrations and other folksy pastimes on offer by local artists.

In addition to its flowers, Nanhui offers dozens of tourist attractions. There are cultural relics, modern resorts, the thousand-year-old Xinchang Old Town where Ang Lee filmed part of "Lust, Caution." There's the Yangshan Deep-Water Port, Shanghai Wild Animal Park, Shanghai Flower Port, Binhai Forest Park, the 36-hole Binhai Golf Course, among other attractions.

During the flower festival, Xinchang Old Town launches a food gala featuring traditional local snacks and Taiwanese cuisine for gourmets.

At the festival closing, 2010 lighted Kongming Lanterns will express good wishes for the World Expo Shanghai 2010. The ancient-type lanterns are made of paper on a bamboo frame. There's a small candle or electric light inside.

To make visits easier for city dwellers, the festival committee is launching several one-day trips to Nanhui, in cooperation with the Shanghai Tourist-Transport Center and China Spring Tour.

How to get there

1. A20 - Nanliu Road - Nanlu Road - Dongda Road

2. A2 - Daye Road - Dongda Road

3. A30 - Dongda Road

Tel: 6426-5555 (Shanghai Tourist-Transport Center); 800-820-6222 (China Spring Tour)

For more information, visit


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