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Pingding wins national plaudits for cultural protection

Updated: 2021-12-16


A spirited rendition of the Yirang Dragon Lantern Dance takes place in Yirang village in Pingding county. [Photo/Yellow River News]

The Jucheng Joint School in Pingding county – administered by Yangquan city in North China's Shanxi province – was recently included as the city's only representative in the third list of national primary and middle schools recognized for their inheritance of traditional Chinese culture, announced by the Ministry of Education.

The school was recognized for its protection and promotion of the Yirang Dragon Lantern Dance, a folk custom in Yirang village, in Juncheng town, Pingding county. 

It has a history stretching back more than 200 years in the village. During the Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month every year in China's lunar calendar, villagers gather in the local square to perform various dragon dances, accompanied by passionate horns and drum music. 

In 2017, Yirang Dragon Lantern Dance was included in the fifth batch of provincial representative intangible cultural heritage items.  

The recognition of Jucheng Joint School is one of the examples held aloft, representing Pingding's promotion of intangible cultural heritage in schools – and one of the key measures to protect its wider intangible cultural heritage. 

Since 2007, the school has compiled and improved a textbook series themed on the Yirang Dragon Lantern Dance, with a course using traditional teaching materials ranging to modern multimedia electronic tutorials.

The compulsory course in the school has been passed down for more than 10 years, which has played a positive role in promoting the folk custom. 

In addition to Jucheng Joint School, the promotion of shehuo – a celebration of traditional Chinese festivals in Zhuangzhuang Primary School – as well as operas in Dongguan Primary School have been active. There has also been textbook compilation of yagu – folk talking, singing and dancing to drum music – all of which have achieved great results.

So far, Pingding county has 113 intangible cultural heritage items listed at the national, provincial and municipal levels.