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History Culture

Wuzhen Customs & Food

As an ancient water town, many of the traditional customs of China are preserved in Wuzhen. Moreover, Wuzhen also has its own distinct traditions that are different from those in other regions. Throughout Wuzhen’s history, the Incense Bazaar has been an extremely important and exuberant folk festival influenced by the practice of raising silkworms and the presence of the Grand Canal. Every April, people gathered at the Incense Bazaar to pray for good fortune and a bumper harvest by burning incense while organizing diverse celebratory activities. Thanks to the local people’s protection of this tradition, the Incense Bazaar has become the hallmark of Wuzhen’s travel and folk customs festivals. The spectacle of the Incense Bazaar in its entirety today is a reflection of the grandeur of history. These diverse folk cultures have become tourist attractions warmly welcomed by domestic and foreign visitors alike.

In addition, there are other folk festivals including Chinese New Year, Huyang Food Festival, and Children’s Festival held ceremoniously throughout the year in Wuzhen.

Now that Wuzhen provides a wide variety of foods to tourists from around the world, its traditional dishes deserve to be mentioned. It is the combination of food and culture that makes Wuzhen cuisine stand out. Locals have taken pride in study since ancient times. In the past, whenever students set out to take the imperial examination, their friends and relatives would use glutinous rice to prepare several steamers full of sweet, sticky dingsheng cakes to wish them success. They rubbed tender leaves and grass shoots into glutinous rice powder to make fragrant green cakes called qingtuan. They also pickled stinky tofu for more than twenty hours before steaming or frying. Chrysanthemum tea is a traditional drink in Wuzhen. Made from chrysanthemum, which can be used for medicinal purposes, the sweet, aromatic beverage has a strong, elegant aroma. Wuzhen Lake mutton, Sanbai Wine, and duck seasoned with soy sauce are all famous local specialties of Wuzhen.

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