The international group poses for a photo in front of the ancient buildings in Shunxi town, Pingyang county, on July 15. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Pingyang county in Wenzhou city, East China's Zhejiang province, is a hidden gem with cultural roots that have embedded themselves deeply into the local community.
From captivating puppet shows to Nanquan Boxing, or southern-style kung fu, the people of Pingyang proudly showed a group of expats from across the globe how they preciously preserve, pass down and celebrate the county's various ancient traditional art forms.
One such art form is Pingyang's palm puppetry. The masters of this cultural heritage skillfully use only their index finger, thumb, and middle finger to manipulate intricate hand puppets, bringing to life stories from Chinese history and folklore.
"It is impressive because it is everything you would find in a Wu Opera, but in puppet form," said Marian Rosenberg from the US.
Southern-style kung fu is another long-lasting cultural heritage in Pingyang. Practitioners have to undergo rigorous training to master the dynamic techniques, strong stances, and intricate hand movements of this art form. This discipline is so engraved into the community that its local practitioners range from young children to the spry elderly.
Ghassan Nassar, from the US, learns from an energetic 72-year-old southern-style kung fu practitioner during the trip. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
A 72-year-old practitioner, one of the three that were happy to show off their impressive skills for group, even guided the expats through a series of stances and moves.
"You can feel how this style of kung fu helps people get rid of their negative energy and keeps them fit and young. It makes you want to start practicing it," said Yasmine Soullami from Morocco.
In Shunxi town, the group also went shrimp fishing along the edge of a nearby creek, took a raft ride, and learned how to make Shunxi Yellow Rice Cakes, which are a tasty snack made with rice, sticky rice, and plant ash from gardenia and camelia trees.
Despite the county's continuing development, local residents in Pingyang are dedicated to honoring their cultural roots. The two-day trip offered the international visitors a truly immersive experience that highlights the diversity of Chinese culture.
Expats learn how to make Shunxi Yellow Rice Cakes in Shunxi town, Pingyang on July 15. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]