Mountain Hiking Day on sixteenth day of the first lunar month in Bazhong [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
The Mountain Hiking Day on the sixteenth day of the first lunar month is a traditional folk festival in Bazhong, Sichuan province. It originated from a time-honored tradition of going hiking to ward off diseases. To local people, going to the mountains expresses their wish to exorcise evil spirits and receive blessings.
In Bazhong, the tradition was first developed in the late Tang Dynasty (618-907), flourished in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, and is still celebrated to this day. Local people designated the sixteenth day of the first lunar month as Mountain Hiking Day in honor of Prince Imperial Li Xianzhong of the Tang Dynasty, who prioritized development of agriculture and took care of his people. On this day, the old and young wore cypress branches on their chests and in their hair to wish for good luck for the new year and get rid of diseases. Over time, this has become a tradition practiced by generation after generation.
The Mountain Hiking Day of the sixteenth day of the first lunar month is a highlight among the non-tangible cultural heritages that have been passed down for over a thousand years.