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China Folk Sports

China is a kingdom of numerous ancient folk sports also, among them 12 are most famous.


1 Fly Skites(放风筝): Originated from the Spring and Autumn period(770BC-221BC), flying skites enjoys a history of over 2000 years in China. In Han dynasty(202BC-220AD), it was used to send messages. In Tang dynasty(618-907), skites became toys and was introduced to Japan and Korean. Song dynasty(960-1276) witnessed its popularization among the folk. In Yuan dynasty(1271-1368), this game reached Europe. Skites were made of silk before Tang dynasty, and after that, papers and bamboos were used. Weifang city,Shandong province is the largest skite production center and is famed as the Capital of Skite in the world. Each year they will hold a skit flying contest.
2 Kicking Chinese Shuttlecock(踢毽子): Stemmed from Han dynasty(202BC-220AD) and prevailed during Southern and Northern Dynasties(420-581) as well as Sui(581-618) and Tang dynasties(618-907), this game thrived in Ming dynasty(1368-1644) and reached its prime time in Qing dynasty(1636-1912). Ancient Chinese shuttlecock was made of copper coins and chicken feathers. Not subject to field or equipment, this game is favored by many people. Simple it seems to be, there is lots of fancy ways to play it.
3 Dang Qiuqian(荡秋千): During the primitive society, our ancestor had to pick wild fruits and hunt animals by climbing the trees. They usually used the vines to go across valleys, and this is the primitive form of this game. Shanrong people who lived in north China during the Spring and Autumn Period(770BC-221BC) created Qiuqian which is made of robes and one wooden board. King Qi Huangong beheld this interesting activity and introduced it into the royal palace. Gradually, it penetrated into the folk. After Han dynasty, it became a folk sports held in Qingming Festival and Dragon-boat Festival. In 1986, it was listed as a competition item during the minority groups.
4 Double-Nine Festival(重阳节) originated form Warring states period(475-221BC) and prevailed since Han dynasty(202BC-220AD). On September,9th, people will climb the high mountains to overlook the far distance, appreciate the chrysanthemum blossom, taste the chrysanthemum wine , compose poetries and essays as well as wear a herb plants named Zhuyu with wises for longevity. Regarding the origination of this folk custom various versions circulate. One is that there was a Devil of Plague lived in Han dynasty(202BC-220.AD) which caused massive deaths. A handsome and brave young man named Heng Jing consulted a Daoism master how to defeat this devil. The master told him:"you need to leave home at September 9th and climb to the high place, besides, do put the Zhuyu into a red bag and tie it on arm. And lastly, you drink the chrysanthemum wine, then you can defeat it." Heng Jing told this secret to all the fellows. During that day, the village was deserted by people when the devil came. Irritated, the devil killed all the animals. When the devil try to kill the people, the fragrance of chrysanthemum wine and Zhuyu kept it away. Heng Jing took the chance to kill it at the end.

 Kicking Chinese Shuttlecock(踢毽子)

 Fly Skites(放风筝)

 Dang Qiuqian(荡秋千)

 Double-Nine Festival(重阳节)

5 Chinese Chess(象棋): Chinese Chess derived from ancient India. In around 11th BC, it came into being during Zhou dynasty(1046BC-256BC) among the tribe communities and became popular as early as the Qin(221-206BC) and Han dynasties.(202BC-220AD). Primitive Chinese Chess comprised chessman made of ivory and it was a game symbolizing war. During Southern and Northern Dynasties(420-581), Chinese Chess developed by leaps and bounds. Xiangjing, a Chinese Chess book emerged and marked the second innovation of Chinese Chess. In Tang dynasty, Chinese chess shared many similarities with international chess. Song dynasty saw the unprecedented popularity of this game and and its dramatic changes: the number of chessmen expanded to 32 at that time. Ming(1368-1644) and Qing dynasties(1636-1912) witnessed more professional books on Chinese Chess emerged. (Chinese chess in Ming dynasty is the same like nowadays). Playing Chinese chess can develop intelligence and cultivate our character, thus it is adorned by many people. During recent years the Chinese chess went across the border and reached East and South Asian as well as Europe. Chinese Chess associations are set up worldwide. Many international chess masters begin to play Chinese chess also.
6 Row Dry Boat(踏旱船): This entertainment sport is usually held during Spring Festival or other grand occasions aiming to bring good luck. It is especially popular in Shangxi province. During this entertainment, a male capital will perform various gestures of paddling the boat and leading the way ahead. One beautiful girl will stand inside the boat to perform "the lady of boat". Two other girls will act as the paddlers, and a middle-aged woman will act the clown with white nose. Fan in hand, the clown will spare no effort in making funny gestures around the boat to attract eyeball. Besides, a music team composed of 3 to 4 people will beat the drum. To create the vivid effection that the boat is passing in river not on dry land, the actors and actresses need to practice a lot. This game imbued with local culture and customs is very appealing.
7 Tug-of-war(拔河):Tug-of-war originated in Spring and Autumn period in the state of Chu, that is over 2400 years ago. Besides owning a strong ground forces, State of Chu also boasted a formidable army on water. In order to defeat enemies during wars on water, they invented a weapon which can hook the enemies' boat to prevent them flee away. Since then, this practice prevailed among the army as a training method. It was mimic by the fishermen later who turned it into an entertainment sport. In Tang dynasty, Emperor Tang Xuanzong launched a large scale Tug-of-war with 1000 participants. After Tang and Song dynasties, it penetrated into the folk. This game was once listed into Olympics during 1900-1920.
8 Dragon Dance(舞龙): Dragon in China is an auspicious animal which symbolizes strength,courage and nobility. Our ancestors believed dragon can bring rainfall in dry seasons, good luck to people and can dispel the evil forces. It is said the Heaven Sacrifice Ceremony in Zhou dynasty is the primitive form of Dragon Dance. According to history record, Dragon Dance was performed as early as Han dynasty. Here goes the description:"To pray for the rain, people dress colorful attires and perform the Dragon Dance wholeheartedly". Nowadays, Dragon Dance is performed in festivals to express people's good wishes. Through thousands of years' development, Dragon Dance vary in styles, contents and props in different areas. Over 100 kinds have emerged. The performance process goes like this: invite the dragon from Dragon Temple by music, swing the dragon and visit every family to send good luck, after that burn the head and tail of the dragon and carry the body of it to the Dragon Temple. The most commonly seen Dragon Dance is called Huolong Dragon Dance( Fire Dragon) and the dragon will be decorated with dozens of lights before its was played during night. Dragon Dance is usually accompanied by thundering drums and firecrackers. The whole scene is grand, cheering and impressive. Another thrilling kind of Dragon Dance is High-stick Dragon Dance. The performers will stand on high-sticks and swing the dragon. It is challenging and very interesting. Now, Dragon Dance has international footprints and people from all over the world can perceive its unique charm.

 Dragon Dance

 Tug of War


 Row Dry Boat

 Chinese Chess

9 Yangge Dance(扭秧歌): Yangge is a folk singing and dancing art usually performed during North China rural areas near the Lantern Festival. It originated from the labor activity of planting rice and shared close bond with the songs sang during the Worship Ceremony of God of Harvest. During its development process, it absorbed various art forms include martial art, acrobatics and drama. During Qing dynasty, it had enjoyed wide popularity. The performers will wear colorful attires, singing and dancing with the accompany of drums.

Yangge Dance(扭秧歌)

10 High Stilts Performance(踩高跷,caigaoqiao): Emerged as early as the Spring and Autumn period(770BC-221BC), this game is said to be invented by our ancestors who had to pick the wild fruits in high place. During Spring and Autumn Period, performers can not only walk , but also jump and fight on stilts, while in Han dynasty, it integrated into Baixi(variety show). High Stilts Performance is blessed with rich contents include martial art performance, jump to high table, sword fight, Yange Dance and drama show. Performers tie their legs into the stilts and act various characters to amuse the crowd.

High Stilts Performance

11 Spring Outing(踏青Taqing): The history of Spring outing can be traced back to Qin dynasty(221BC-206BC). People will go out to perform games include Cuju(ancient football), Dang Qiuqian and flying skites. This game prevailed in Tang and Song dynasty. Numerous poetries and essays have been devoted to it. One poet wrote"The gorgeous girls from royal families will hang out and play among the flowers which is a intoxicating scene". Nowadays, it is still adorned by Chinese people. Top places for Spring outing include:
(1) Yunnan Province: Yunnan is blessed with the most diversified flowers in China. From February to May, it is a flower ocean. Camelia of various species thrive here during this period also.
 Luoping County(罗平县) is most famous for its 133333333 m2 Cole blossoms. The best travel time is middle February. Best shooting site is on Jinji Feng(Gold Rooster Peak,金鸡峰). Visit Dali during February to May to see the camellia blossom. There are many rare species here. Yi Liang Wan Jia Ao(宜良万家凹)which is famed as the Number One Camellia Village is another good site to see camellia blossom. It is 60km from Kunming city.
Visit Mt Yuantongshan(圆通山) in Kunming City during March to see the 1800m2 Cherry Blossom mingled with begonia, Chinese rose and camellia here. Visit Heilongtan Park(黑龙潭公园) in Kunming City during middle February to see the plum blossom is a wise choice. You can see over 14000 plum trees with 137 varieties here. Early January to end of February is their flower period. Do not miss it.
 Visit Shishan Scenice Area(狮山风景区)which is 80km from Kunming during spring to see the peony blossoms. There are over 40000 peony trees with over 120 species. You can even see the black, purple, green and blue peony blossoms here. Zichonglou Peony has over 400 petals. Visit Mt Shizong Junzishan(师宗菌子山) during February to March, a period when this mountain is an ocean of azaleas blossoms. The oldest azaleas tree is over 1600 years old. The flower will last 40 days. It is 228km from Kunming city.
(2)Yangzhou city: this city has been adorned and haunted by poets since ancient times. It is the backyard of Chinese man of letters. March here features eye-dazzling peach blossoms and green willow trees which occupy every corner of the city. You can feel the rich and original south China culture here.
(3) Hangzhou's West Lake: Want to experience the south China culture and enjoys the most beautiful natural scenery? Visit West Lake in Spring will be a wise choice. In March, West Lake is a kingdom of blossoms include plum, peaches and cherry. You can wandering along the Sui and Bai Casual way to appreciate the blossoms and willow trees, or rent a boat to enjoy the most most romantic trip. Bai Juyi, a famous poet, compared West Lake to a lady with boundless charm with or without make-up. Completed by the long history and numerous relics, West Lake is definitely your top destination in South China.

 West Lake, Hangzhou City

(4) Wuhan University's Cherry Blossom.During the middle and end of March, more than 1000 Japanese cherry trees in Wuhan University will be in full blossom. The flowers will fade away within one week. Fleeting it is, the splendid scenery lures many tourists every year.
(5) Phoenix City(凤凰古城) and Taohuayuan(桃花源) in western Hunan province. Tiaohuayuan literally means the land of peach blossoms and symbolizes the Utopia put forward by poet Tao Yuanming. March here is the ocean of peach blossoms. While in Phoenix City, you can not appreciate the intoxicating scenery in Spring and catch a glimpse of the Miao minority and Tujia Minority's ancient way of extracting oil, making paper, grinding rice and weaving. It is totally different world beyond your imagination and will surprise you beyond your expectation.

  Phoenix City(Phoenix Ancient Town,凤凰古城)

 Phoenix City(Phoenix Ancient Town,凤凰古城)

 Taohuayuan(桃花源) in Hunan Province

 Wuhan University's Cherry Blossom in Spring

(6) Wuyuan in Jiangxi province(婺源): Wuyuan is famed as the most beautiful countryside in China. Visit Wuyuan in March, you can see the crooked avenues and ancient architectures nestling among the ocean of golden cole flowers, the white plum flowers and peach blossoms.
(7)Guilin: the beauty of Guilin concentrates on Li River. Spring here in particular, is enchanting. It is a wonderland compose of ocean of peach blossom against the green mountains, crystal waters, mysterious caves, grotesque rocks and delicate ancient architectures in Spring. Gong Chen county in southeast part of Guilin City, is a must-see. It is famous for the ancient architecture clusters, Yao minority's ethic flavor and Mt Dalingshan ecotourism area.

 Li River, Guilin

 Yuanyang Terrance Field In Guilin

 Li River, Guilin

 Wuyuan, Jiangxi Province

(8) Nanjing: Plum is Nanjing's city flower. You can visit it during March. Boasting over 266 666 m2 of plum, Mt Meihuashanis one of the top four plum gardens in China. You can see the rare species here.

Nanjing Plum Mountain:the best place to enjoy plum blossom in China

 12 Dragon Boat Festival (Duan Wu Festival, Double Fifth Festival)
The Dragon Boat Festival is widely celebrated by Chinese people each May 5th according to lunar calendar, especially in south China. Besides eating Zongzi and racing dragon boats, people also follow the ancient traditions of hanging several herbs include calamus beside doors and windows, making and wearing perfume bags to expel the bad luck of May.


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