36th Luoyang Peony Cultural Festival Opens in Central China
The crest of the pink tree peony “Guifeichacui” turns pinky white after blossoming, fair and delicate as the skin of a Ming vase. (Photo by Tong Ruiqin)
The 36th Luoyang peony cultural festival kicked off in Luoyang, central China's Henan province on April 5, and will run for one month. The fair features a series of events including the opening ceremony, cultural exchanges, flower tours and trade fairs for visitors. The ancient imperial capital has pulled out all the stops in welcoming guests and friends from home and abroad to visit and invest in Luoyang.
The musical Luoyang City in Sui and Tang Dynasties at the opening ceremony of the 36th Luoyang peony cultural festival. (Photo by Chen Wenjie)
The captivating opening live performance, titled Blossoming New Era, presented and celebrated the history of Luoyang through dances, chorus and other art forms, exploring such themes as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the capital of museums. Brimming with historical atmosphere, the ceremony transported the audience back in time to the“earliest China”, and revisited the development of Luoyang from its most glorious period of culture and civilization during the Sui and Tang Dynasties (581-907 AD) all the way to the new era.
The song and dance Grand Voyage at the opening ceremony of the 36th Luoyang peony cultural festival. (Photo by Chen Wenjie)
The festival will play host to a slew of events including the World Forum on Ancient Capitals, the Grand Canal Cultural Forum, peony photography, the BRI Urban Production and Finance Integration Forum for the New Era and the Peony Cultural Festival Investment and Trade Fair, the Global Cross-border Industry Convergence Summit as well as the Luoyang (International) Robots and Smart Equipment Exhibition. Topping it all off, the French Style Garden and Luoyang "Cloned Peony" Exhibition will be making their debut this year, in order to provide tourists with a better and richer touring experience and further elevate the influence of the city of Luoyang.
Tree peony “Erqiao”, also dubbed Twin Beaut, sports two colors in one flower. (Photo by Tong Ruiqin)
Peony cultivation in Luoyang, which now boasts its own unique brand of charm and culture, began in the Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD), flourished in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) and achieved vast renown in the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). After 1,500 years of history of cultivation, Luoyang peony is as eclectic in presentation as ever, featuring 9 major colors, 10 flower patterns, more than 1,200 varieties and spanning some 210,000 mu (approx. 54.05 square miles) of planting strips. Luoyang has remained at the forefront of technological research on peony not just within China, but globally too. Scientists in Luoyang broke new ground globally after they successfully deciphered the peony genome and developed and introduced“cloned peonies”for viewing.
The pure white tree peony “Wudazhou” is shaped as a lotus flower. Its petals are thick and flat. (Photo by Tong Ruiqin)
A person in charge of the peony culture industry spoke in length about cultural and creative products. (Photo by Chen Wenjie)
In 2017, the economic output value of the peony industry in Luoyang totaled 24 billion yuan and 3.2 million fresh cut flowers were produced. Fresh cut peonies and Chinese herbaceous peonies have gained entry into the international market. Last year alone, Luoyang exported 1 million such flowers to Australia, as part of a flower trade cooperation, and another 10,000 to the Middle East including Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It is expected that in the next two or three years, the annual export volume of fresh cut peony flowers and Chinese herbaceous peony in Luoyang will exceed 20 million.
The pink and large dinner plate-sized tree peony ”Shengdai” belongs to the rose or Hydrangea Macrophylla family. (Photo by Tong Ruiqin)