I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the Peony Festival, aside from flowers, of course. The festival happens every year in the spring time, and in mid to late April is when most of the blooms are out. Luoyang is a city of upwards of 6 million, but it’s clear they’ve made a large tourist industry out of the festival.
There were vendors everywhere, outside the temples, and inside the festival. When I visited the Longmen grottoes that morning, I had seen lots of funny hats, and at first I thought, Well, maybe it’s a trend to wear funny hats on tours? Then I saw the vendors and realized all the hats with huge fake flowers were from the peony festival. I really can’t make fun of them too much, because I ended up buying one- I just couldn’t resist!
Of course, then I was a foreigner wearing a funny hat, and I ended up in lots of peoples’ family photo albums. At one point, one of the vendors sent her young son over to me to give me a few flowers as a gift.
Capitalism aside, the actual flowers were really fascinating. During this week, many different colors of blooms were out, including white, pale pink, bright pink, purple, and even some yellow ones. I couldn’t help but take lots of photos. Peonies are quite large blooms, so the stems have to be really sturdy to hold them up.
It had rained the day previously, so everything was well-watered. The day I went was very nice, and I even got a little sun burned. I am still thinking of the cold winter days of Beijing over the last few months, I guess I have to adjust back to warm weather!
Overall it was really interesting to see how this small place has turned into a tourist destination. The flowers were gorgeous, so if you find yourself in the area between March and May, it’s a fun trip. The festival itself really only takes a couple hours to tour around, so you’ll probably want to look up some other things to do in the area. To read what else I did in Henan province, you can read my blog post on the Kung Fu school.