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Why riding camel on Mid-Autumn Festival holiday?


Tourists visit the Crescent Spring and Singing Sand Dune Scenic area in Dunhuang, northwest China’s Gansu Province during the 8-day National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holiday
(photo from Xinhuanet.com)

Today is the ‘Full Moon Day’ Aug 15 in the Chinese Lunar Calendar which is traditionally the Mid-Autumn Festival day. After dinner at night, people go outdoor walking around with lanterns, eat moon cakes while sitting on the grass, and most importantly enjoy the scenic full moon. In an agricultural society, it is the right time to have a happy rest after a good harvest.

Right now, more than half of the Chinese population is residing in the urban area. Millions of them take this opportunity to run away from the busy towns so as to enjoy the scenic view of the Mother Nature.

As many as 710 million trips were made during this 8-day holiday this year. Strangely, thousands of people choose to ride camel in the desert. Two reasons come to my mind for this. Firstly, other than those with fishermen background or long time coastal residence history, many Chinese people have sea sick problem. They feel dizzy while travelling by sea and air. Some people in the remote regions still suffer from car sickness. So, they prefer to simply get on a train and stay on land, no matter how far they go.

The second reason is perhaps out of a combination of nostalgia and adventurous spirit. This desert in Gansu Province is a section of the old Silk Road route. In the times of months-long journey without modern technologies like electricity, mobile phone and alike, the travelers’ courage and persistence are amazing. Right now, we have so many people willing to ride on camels rather than enjoying the comfort inside the air-conditioned shopping malls, to gain this experience. This high spirit of adventure is essential for China’s peaceful rise for without this nobody would be going to the Middle East and Africa.

Two Arabian scholars from Jordan’s Al-Balqa’a Applied University and Middle East University published a research paper on the Silk Road Project in January 2017. From their point of view, we can realize that the peoples there are enthusiastic in reviving the Silk Road as it can contribute to their visions of the ‘Four Seas Strategy’, ‘Productive Triangle’ and ‘Oasis Plan: war against the desert’. Many Arabian nationals long for resurrecting their glory by overcoming the geographical and topographical problems in their homeland, thus welcoming a helping hand from an old trading partner, the Chinese in flesh and blood.

To bring this dream come true, adventurous Chinese personnel and finance are both required to land on the desert there so as to fulfill the life-to-life interaction and exchange on all fronts. Nowadays, we still need the camels.

Anyway, in case you may visit China for viewing the mid-autumn moon here, you may take a reference from this tourist guide: “Top 10 destinations for Mid-Autumn Festival in Beijing”. Let us share the same beautiful moon from all over the Earth.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

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About keith K C Hui

Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration and the author of "Helmsman Ruler: China's Pragmatic Version of Plato's Ideal Political Succession System In The Republic" (2013).

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