Visiting the Temple for Chinese New Year 2012 or the Year of the Dragon

The Nan Hua Temple in Bronkhorstspruit was the place to be for the Chinese New Year 2012 celebrating the year of the Dragon. This would be my second time traveling to the temple for such an event.

Temple with Wishing Tree

A colorful wishing tree sits outside the temple

The Nan Hua Temple os a popular place with cars lining the long driveway leading to the temple.

Nan Hua Temple Courtyard Show

The temple architecture towered above everything and could be seen from a distance approaching the complex. There were people from all walks gathered to see the festivities, everyone was welcome.

Incense Burning

A lady throws incense into a giant cauldron

The festivities offer incredible photographic opportunities with a massive fireworks display in the center courtyard. The deafening roar once they are set off can be heard for miles and rattle anyone standing nearby. After launching the event with fireworks the dragon dancers quickly make their way to the courtyard to entertain. With a row of performers undulating to the beating drums under the blistering sun we watched as the dragon slithered around. Soon they disappeared and the lion dancers come out to play. They were a curious bunch, showing off their acrobatic skills and playing silly games.

End of Chinese New Year 2012 Festivities

With the entertainers done and the sun beating the crowds into submission it was time to head to the shaded corridors. Along every inch merchants sold their wares, from trinkets to artwork but most importantly food and drink. The heat means drinks sell fast so I made sure to grab a cold one quick.

Temple Corner Architecture

The colorful corner of the temples architecture

Afterwards it was time to explore the temples. There are two temples, the main grand temple and a secondary one behind it. Both are well worth a visit. The main one does get busy but as long as you take off your shoes you are welcome to enter. The smaller temple behind is much quieter and offers some escape from the masses.

What I Learnt Photographing the Show

As usual I relied on my Canon 5D MKII and Canon 24-70mm lens. The combination works well and are my go to setup especially for dynamic environments. With bright sunny conditions light wasn’t an issue which made for an easy shoot.

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