Family time at the Temple

It was Saturday and the day was free for most Chinese in Beijing.

Something I have come privy to while here is that the Chinese work very long and hard everyday. Sometimes they don’t get a day off for weeks. They work most everyday and while their hours may technically be 8:30am-5:30, they end up working till 9pm. I have seen many people who I am becoming friends with tell me the hours they work. They do not get paid hourly, but rather monthly. The money isn’t all too much from what I gather, though I haven’t asked for exact numbers, as I have always considered that a rude question.

Charissa and I decided to go to the Temple of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven was a place that the Emperor would perform the annual prayer for a good harvest. It was a huge event that would take place.

The Temple of Heaven was located in the middle of a fairly large park, and as Charissa and I were walking, we came across many Chinese enjoying the park on a Saturday like most any human would. Freedom from the city, get your Zen on.

It was a fairly organized park, with lots of benches, small flocks of birds I had never seen before and trees that were a foot in diameter and about 40-50 ft (15 metres) tall.

As we approached further, we came across a cool looking temple with a large moat around it. A moat is a ditch around the building that is filled with water. The building itself looked lovely with green tiles and we came to find out this was a place the Emperor would “fast” at for three days prior to the ritual. He would abstain from food, drink, women, and the stately affairs.

Then when the day came, he would perform the ritual of praying for the good harvest in the Temple of Heaven.

The Emperor was considered a “Son of heaven” and a person who was considered divine. He was a part of earth and heaven. The colors sybolized this through Gold, Blue and Green. The colors of heaven, earth and the mortal world.

As we trekked around, taking photos, doing our tourist thing, I noticed how many families were around. It was so sweet to see three generations together spending time with each other, loving the young children, walking around. There were also a number of couples who were enjoying each other on the benches and walking.

Family is important and while in China public displays of affection may not be as common as in other countries, the feeling exists and it was nice to see it in a peaceful setting like a park.

We just took a sleeper car to Xi’an and I am staying in one of the coolest hostels ever. More to come~~~!

Xie xie,

Xiao En (Chinese name)

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