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Winter Fishing Festival at Chagan Lake

 2014-08-21    sonrisabai    Activities    Songyuan    1452  

Chagan Lake is located in the former Qianguo'erluosi County, the northwest of Jilin Province. This is a lake with rich history and folks stories and Chagan means white and holy lake in Mongolian. Here is also the natural conservation are, paradise to wild animals and birds.

Tracing back to ten thousand years ago, the ancient people around the area already started making a living through hunting and fishing. Lake meant everything to them. When the winter came, they would rely on the traditional fishing hunting method to get them through the cold winter, from generations to generations. According to historical records, the emperor of Liao dynasty loved “Ice Fish” the most. Every winter he would camp on the lake and hunt some fish.

The winter fish hunting custom has continued till today. If you would like to pay a visit here, the last thing you want to miss is the winter fish hunting. Thousands of people working together on the lake, dozens of transporting trucks, hundreds of thousands tons of fresh fish breaking out from the ice, the scene is just amazing and unbelievable! And that is not the most interesting part.

The mysterious traditional ceremony happens before the hunting is the highlight. It is called net-awakening and god-worshiping. After he “fish leader” in Mogolian robes announces the start of the ceremony, the sound of drums fill the air. Bells in hand with bull horn trumpet playing, he would circle the alter three times then dances for a while.

Everyone is reading aloud the Prayer of Chagan Lake. Here it goes, Oh Chagan Lake, the treasure mirror of God, the eyes of the earth. All the creatures, all the lives, are gathering in your arms of wisdom. Oh, Chagan Lake, marks of holy and purity, symbol of mother nature. All the ancestors, all the people, are blessed by you.

In the meant time, tall and strong fishermen with sheepskin jacket pull the sledge and entered the fish hunting area. In recent years the ceremony is getting more and more interesting. It has turned into a festival actually, with some more dance performance and first fish audition and stuff like that.


If you think you can only experience some old traditions from Chagan Lake, you are way wrong. They have this really awesome amusement park, like a small version of every good building in the world. Some may say what’s good about those stuff? Better see the real ones. In my defense, not everyone is having enough time and money to travel around the world. So this is perfect for me. Egyptian Pyramids, ancient church in Russia, Notre Dame de Paris, Fallingwater house in the United States, such a feast to my eyes.

Sailing around the lake and seeing pavilions in different shapes scattered on the lake, all the troubles seem to go away at the moment. Suddenly I come to understand why this land of water mean so much to the locals. They can find peace of mind here.

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