On January 30 we will say goodbye to the Year of the Snake, and welcome the Year of the Horse. Snakes in China have a bit of a bad reputation—a lowly creature, overshadowed by its popular relative, the Dragon. But a few snakes are also some of the most intriguing characters in Chinese folklore. Here are some special places in China to ring out the old year and celebrate these Snakes one last time.
One beloved snake is Lady White Snake (白娘子 bai niangzi) or Bai Suzhen (白素贞), the heroine of one of the most famous legends in China. Her story takes place around the beautiful West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Visit the Broken Bridge, where she first met her love, Xu Xian, and climb the Leifeng Pagoda, where legend holds she is trapped for eternity.
To read more about the visions of West Lake and the full story of Bai Suzhen, download China Tea Leaves 杭州 Hangzhou today!
Another interesting snake in Chinese culture is Nüwa, who was the daughter of the Jade Emperor and in some ancient myths created animals and humans from clay. She and her husband Fuxi were both snakes, as shown in this panel from the Shaanxi History Museum in Xi’an. A local legend says that Lishan, or Black Horse Mountain near the site of the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an, was where Nüwa repaired the Wall of Heaven after a flood caused by a quarrel between the gods.
Check back soon as we get ready to welcome the Year of the Horse, and find out more about our upcoming release of China Tea Leaves 西安 Xi’an!