A festive fair way to welcome in the Spring Festival
By Yu Xiangjun  ·  2024-02-02  ·   Source: China Today

As a Chinese saying goes, “After Laba (a festival that falls on the eighth day of the last lunar month) comes the Lunar New Year.” Amid the joyful festival atmosphere for the upcoming 2024 Spring Festival (the Chinese New Year, or the Lunar New Year), reporters from China Today visited Shagedu Town in Jungar Banner, Ordos City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on the 21st of the last lunar month.   

A grand fair, which extended as far as the eye could see, was well underway. Residents of nearby villages were also visiting, selecting a variety of products in preparation for China’s most important annual holiday. 

At this time of every year, the quiet town was transformed into a cacophony of vendors hawking their wares and customers bargaining. Dried fruits, sweet treats, fresh fruits, chicken, duck, fish, and pork, as well as a seemingly endless array of traditional Chinese New Year delicacies, tempted the eye and the palate. The ubiquitous bright red Spring Festival couplets, window decorations, and creative lanterns ramped up the lively festive atmosphere even further. 

According to local vendors, the first, eleventh, and twenty-first days of each lunar month are important days for the town's residents, neighboring villagers, and even merchants in neighboring provinces and cities. People call them “buying and selling days” or “days for rushing to buy and sell,” which means there will be big fairs for one-stop shopping. 

On those days, both vendors and villagers bring agricultural produce and sideline products here for trading. Gradually, these big fairs have become indispensable in the lives of locals. This is especially true when they fall on days close to major national festivals.  

For locals, no matter how their lifestyles change, their enthusiasm and expectations for the Spring Festival remain unchanged, and going to the big festival fairs has also become their own way to welcome the Chinese New Year. 

Along with the hive of activity in the town, people’s memories of the Spring Festival are passed down from generation to generation, and with these memories there is also the hope of a better life in the future. 


A snow-covered village in Shagedu Town in Jungar Banner, Ordos city, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region awaits the arrival of the Spring Festival.(YU XIANGJUN) 


The 21st of the twelfth lunar month is the last big fair day in Shagedu Town before the Spring Festival. The local market is exceptionally crowded with visitors jostling to purchase Lunar New Year’s goods and tasty snacks.(YU XIANGJUN)  


Local villagers select couplets and window papercuts, which are essential decorations for every Chinese household during the Spring Festival.(YU XIANGJUN) 


Brightly colored Lunar New Year paintings are widely favored by senior villagers.(YU XIANGJUN) 


A vendor (left) recommends underwear to customers. Apart from traditionally favored red underwear being made from pure cotton, modal and lycra fabrics are also on offer.(YU XIANGJUN)   


The festive decorations contain auspicious themes such as “may all your wishes come true” for the upcoming year, attracting many people to stop and buy them. (YU XIANGJUN) 

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