Tue, February 10, 2009
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China's molton metal fireworks

2009-02-10 10:56:03 GMT2009-02-10 18:56:03 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

China's Hebei Province celebrates the traditional Lantern Festival with splashed molten metal.

The Chinese Lantern Festival in Hebei Province features the hurling of burning hot molten iron, an ancient and highly dangerous tradition started by blacksmiths too poor to afford fireworks.

SCRIPT:

A hot and dangerous celebration at China's traditional Lantern Festival, as metal scraps are heated to 1,300 degrees centigrade, splashing sparks during the night of China's full moon.

Sixty-year-old local farmer Wang Fu was one of only three people left in the town who still performed this rare stunt.

(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin with English translation) SIXTY-YEAR-OLD FARMER AND PERFORMER WANG FU SAYING:

"As long as you're not afraid to die, it's OK. So long as you've got strength, you can learn to do it. If you're brave, you can do it."

"Dashuhua", literally translated as as "beating flowers in the tree", began around 500 years ago in Hebei Province by blacksmiths too poor to afford fireworks.

But now, many who can afford fireworks travel from other cities to see the display, and local resident Yang Zengjiang said he was really proud of the tradition.

(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin with English translation) 24-YEAR-OLD STUDENT YANG ZENGJIANG SAYING:

"People always let fireworks off by themselves, but here it's other people doing it for you, so seeing it is pretty spectacular, really powerful."

Less expensive than fireworks, "Dashuhua" is a tradition at risk, as none of the younger generation are yet able to perform the art.

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