Mark in your calendars for the month of April, Luoyang’s legendary Peony Festival. During this month locals in Luoyang put on one of the world’s great homages to one of the world’s best loved flowers – the peony. The beautiful peony has been around since classical times and is China’s de facto national flower. During the month of April and into May, Luoyang is all about this flower whose colorful, hearty blossoms symbolize prosperity and a happy marriage.
All over town, visitors can find paeans to the peony – from stage shows and street entertainment to lantern displays and exhibitions. But the main event at any flower festival is viewing the flowers in full bloom. There are plenty of places around the city to admire their showy petals, but the epicenter is the Luoyang National Peony Garden where more than 400 varieties are on display. Beyond the flowers, visitors should also set time aside to see the Longmen Grottoes, a truly astounding Buddhist reliquary, and the Shaolin temple, home to a rich history of martial arts. Luoyang is just a two-hour journey from Xi’an by high-speed train.