History&Culture
Author:  Source:China National Tourism Administration  

History

    

The history of Haikou originates from Han Dynasty. In 110B.C. (the first year of Western Han Dynasty), General Lu Bode of Fubo conquered Baiyue, and set two prefectures-Zhuya and Zhan'er-and 16 counties in Hainan. Haikou was under Zhuyadaimao County. In Tang Dynasty, Haikou became a port of Qiongzhou, and it was the transportation hub to the mainland. In Song Dynasty, in order to consolidate the frontier, Haikoupu was established, hence the name. In 1858 (the eighth year of Emperor Xianfeng), Haikou was opened up to be a trading port, the name was changed into Qiongzhou kou. After that, the consulates of various countries were set up here gradually. In the early days of the People's Republic of China, its name was changed to Haikou. It was liberated on 23, April 1950, and the People's Government was founded on June 1, the same year. After liberation, Haikou was a city under the jurisdiction of the provincial government of Guangdong, and was the capital of Hainan administrative. In March 1983, it was declared to be an open city. In 1988, it became the capital city of Hainan Province.

With no transition from winter to spring and its implied continuous drizzle, no autumn breeze to make dry dead leaves fall from the trees, no brilliant white snows, no bone-chilling wind or spring chill, Haikou instead has jade seas, blue skies, sunshine, sandy beaches and swaying coconut palms as its constant themes. A precious pearl set atop the crown of a treasure island, Haikou is truly the tourist holiday paradise of the South China Sea!
Benefiting from a superior geographical location and climatic conditions, Haikou is the capital city of the international tourism island of Hainan Province, as well as its political, economic, technological and cultural center. The city's charming seaside scenery, rich tropical culture, unique human landscape, complete facilities, hot springs that are increasingly famous both at home and abroad, self-drive tours, golf courses, convention and exhibition facilities all make Haikou the optimum destination for business travel!
Sunny Haikou - Entertainment Capital, Quality City

Haikou, also known as Coconut City, is the capital of Hainan Province, an international tourism island and China's largest special economic zone; it is also the province's political, economic, technological and cultural center as well as its transportation and communications hub. Haikou has a tropical marine climate with and annual average temperature of 23.8 . There is a long summer, no winter and a pleasant climate. The city has jurisdiction over four administrative districts, a land area of 2304 square kilometers and a coastline of 131 kilometers. At the end of 2008 the city's resident population stood at 1,835,000 people.
Haikou boasts numerous tourist resources such as group travel facilities, food, accommodation, tours, shopping, entertainment with six main elements, year-round spring-like climate, charming tropical seaside scenery, romantic coastal hot springs, perfect facilities for business conventions, abundant and unique tropical island golf courses, the famous film director Zhang Yimou's first extravaganza following the Olympics - a large-scale live-action performance called "Impression • Hainan Island,". In addition, people are also eager to experience the "one foot on the accelerator island tour, self-drive experience. Haikou with its richly endowed natural scenery and full-bodied sites of cultural interest is becoming South Chinas flagship resort for tourism, business conventions and exhibitions, golf, self-drive tours and coastal hot spring vacations where everywhere endorses the motto, "Sunny Haikou • Entertainment Capital • Quality City " with a graceful and romantic elegance.
"Jade waters reach for the distant sky, Hainan brims with spring", her bosom open to the four oceans and greeting the wind from eight directions, Haikou welcomes you!

Entertainment City
Haikou is a leisure city with a melodic beat and a colourful selection of night-time entertainment along with varied character rich cultural activities. There are bars and KTV rooms all across the city and the breathtaking national large-scale live action performance "Impression • Hainan Island". In addition, a concert hall full of cultural atmosphere, the Haikou Opera House, Fisherman's Wharf with its 24-hour city and other high-end entertainment facilities are all under construction. All of these add to the colour of this city of the South China Sea that never sleeps. Every year Haikou holds the round Hainan Island Cycle Race, the Haikou International Ironman Competition, the Haikou hot-air balloon festival and the Treasure Island Carnival, the annual Hainan Joy Festival, and the Madame Xian Cultural Festival. Together they write the words "Haikou for entertainment" in bold colourful letters at a single stroke!
Quality City
Haikou's goals are to lay bare the city's essential culture and enhance urban quality to forge China's most refined and most beautiful provincial capital. No matter whether it is the Haidian River's North Shore • Ten-mile Waterfront Leisure Promenade (which is part of the old city redevelopment), the construction of the high quality China Right Bank • Meili Sands, China's top ten historical and cultural streets the comprehensively renovated plazas of the Haikou Qilou Arcades or Jinshan Bay , Haikou Bay, Century Park, the Jiangdong Area, or the more than one hundred tourism and tourism real estate projects starting off on the west coast, the future will bring a famous historical and cultural Haikou city - a modern coastal city that reflects its quality, a city of tomorrow!

Culture
Hainan culture is the combination of traditional culture of mainland China, the culture of the border areas of south China and foreign cultures. On one hand, it maintains its traditional culture forms, such as Qiong Opera, Junpo Festival, Huanghua Festival, dragon and lion dances. On the other hand, it absorbs modern culture forms, such as Karaoke, KTV, singing and dancing performance, golf, bowling, sailing and surfing. Tourists can not only appreciate bamboo pole dance and coconut shell dance, but also play golf and go sailing on the sea.

Local Culture
Drama and Opera
Qiong Opera
Qiong Opera is the main kind of opera in Hainan. It originated from the tune of Geyang, Jiangxi. In Ming Dynasty, it was introduced to Hainan Island by Minnan and Chaoshan. Qiong Opera then came into being after having absorbed the folk ditty. Qiong Opera has a history of 360 years. The traditional repertoire of opera are very rich. Each type of its role has it own traditional performance art and different mask, different tune. The types of role are comparatively complete. Qiong Opera has strong local characteristics. It is a popular artistic form in Hainan area, Leizhou Peninsula of Guangdong and Southeast Asian countries with overseas Chinese with family origin in Hainan.

Puppet plays actors with human
Hainan's Puppet Plays with Human Actors is originated in Lingao County, a neighboring county of Haikou. Much different from the puppet plays of other places, the stage of Lingao Puppet Play is the same with that of an ordinary theatre: there's no curtain on the stage, the puppet and its manipulator play the same role. The chief accompanying music is produced by double suona horn. The actor makes himself up and then appears on the stage with the puppet. The puppet is finely made. With moving eyes and mouth, the puppets look as if they have life. Sometimes the actor and the puppet coordinates in the play. The actor manipulates the puppet and performs his own role at the same time. Because of its special local color and different presentation, this kind of puppet play has been much liked by people both at home and abroad.

Holidays and Festival Celebrations
Hainan International Coconut Festival
From the ancient times, Hainan was known as "Coconut Island", and the coconut palm is the symbol of Hainan. During April 3rd-7th, 1992, the first Hainan International Coconut Festival was held. After that, from every end of March to the beginning of April, there will be the coconut festival. And the festival has 8-year history. It has become an influential celebration in Hainan. Coconut Festival is the combination of touring, culture, customs, physical sports and trade. The aim of the festival is "developing tourist industry, culture exchange, trade promotion, and further opening up". It attracts lots of tourists and businessmen at home and abroad with the characteristic of Hainan folk customs and culture. It fulfils the function of "let the world know Hainan and let Hainan go to the world step by step". In 1993, the General Secretary Jiang Zemin attended the Second Hainan International Coconut Festival and the Fifth Anniversary of Economic Zone of Hainan, and he delivered an important speech at the meeting.

Junpo Festival
After the spring festival, in the February of lunar calendar, people in Hainan will be in Junpo Festival. Having Junpo Festival is a typical custom in Hainan. Junpo is divided into "Gong Period" and "Po Period" according to the sex of the consecrated gods. It is mainly a custom to offer sacrifices to ancestors and historic figures. Because of the difference between the consecrated gods, the "Gong Period" and "Po Period" of different villages are not the same. When there is Junpo Festival, people usually form a unit in a county or village. They will make large offering sacrifices, shoulder the ancestor of Gong and the ancestor of Po to look around the village, and invite the friends to home. The scale is very large, and the food is superior to that of Spring Festival. Dragon and lion team will go to every family to visit. In the evening, the families in the village collect the money together to invite the opera troupe to perform Qiong Opera. The earliest record of the festival is in Song Dynasty. Now the grandest celebration is the "Po Period" in Xinpoliangsha, Qiongshan. Liangsha Po is Mrs. Xian in Sui Dynasty. The "Po Period" of Liangsha is during February 9th-12th of the lunar calendar. At that time, the ancestor of Po will look around the village, and Taoist Priest will make folk dance. It will fascinate you by some mysterious customs.

Flower Exchanging Festival
Every evening of January 15th of lunar calendar, the city of Qiongshan, which is near Haikou, is in the sea of flower. This is a unique Flower Exchanging Festival, which is held once a year. Flower Exchanging Festival is a folk festival in Qiongshan, and it has a long history. It is said that it began from Tang Dynasty. At the very beginning, it exchanged incense, not flower, and it meant the descendant would follow generation after generation. After the founding of the special zone in Hainan, traditional incense is taken place by flowers. The scale, range and the region are enlarged year by year. On January 15th of lunar calendar, with all the lights on, streams of people gather in Fucheng, Qiongshan. The streets are full of flowers. Many people in Haikou, especially the youths, holding flowers, walking along the Haifu Road, form a flower exchanging groups. The understandings of flower exchanging people are different. Most of them want to bless each other by exchanging the flowers at the beginning of spring while the youths take this festival to be a good chance to make friends. They want to use flowers as matchmaker to find their future spouse. Nowadays, the area of flower exchanging extends to Wanly Garden, and the influence of Flower Exchanging Festival will become larger and larger.

 
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