Qifeng Park

What exactly do you know about the mysterious lantern that sits at the top of our famous mountain? Read on for the truth behind Qifeng Park.

There’s no need to emphasize the importance of Qifeng Park here, everybody who has lived in Dongguan for some time knows that. Huangqi Mountain, the mere 180-meter peak of Qifeng Park topped with a red lantern, is often referred to as Dongguan city’s “lung” or “dragon vein.” The former highlights its environmental function, while the latter expresses its position in the city’s general Fengshui. Essential in Fengshui concept, dragon vein often refers to the winding and continuous mountain or river as a means to judge the good or bad about a certain area’s geographical location.

In Dongguan’s case, locals believe that under this dragon vein’s blessing, Dongguan has never had catastrophic natural disasters, nor warfare destruction in history. Even in Song Dynasty when a serious plague swept across the region, Dongguan was able to scarp through. Locals tend to attribute it as the source of Dongguan’s recent prosperity as well, calling it a rare treasure land.

As the park expanded, merged and was renovated over the last 30 years, tombs were ruined without the notifications of their owners.

Dongguan people do have a special attachment to the mountain. Not only is it the first choice for spring/autumn outing, exercise, and fulfilling the tradition of ascending height during the Double Ninth (Chong Yang) Festival, but also the absolute place to be on Chinese New Year’s Eve for many. Every year, lines of cars and flocks of people flood towards the Guanyin (Buddhist) Temple to light up their first incense of the year, with their desired new start in mind.

For this reason, it seemed a logical option to combine the disconnected Qifeng Park and Huying Park in 2012, merely by two well-designed overpasses above Cuifeng Road. During this renovation, an 8.5 km bike loop, three new entrance gates, hiking trails and an Extreme Sports Park were added to make the entire space more tourist-friendly and accessible.

Mystery of the Lantern
It’s not very often that you see a gigantic scarlet lantern towering the peak of a mountain in China, yet it’s been on top of Huangqi Mountain for hundreds of years. Many Dongguan locals agree that “No matter where you go, you won’t get lost looking at the lantern.” A famous folk song describing ancient Dongguan’s eight scenic views awarded Huangqi lantern view the first among them all. It goes like this: “Huángqí lǐng dǐng guà dēnglóng,” meaning lantern hung on top of Huangqi Mountain.

Legend says, a long time ago a huge ficus tree with a hole in its trunk grew vigorously on the top of the mountain. Fireflies were attracted to the hole in the late autumn, spectacularly brightening up the peak like a giant lantern. However, one day the tree perished and so the light was gone. In memory of this quaint notion people built a lantern instead. Meanwhile, The Buddhist goddess Guanyin was rumored to have appeared around the peak, showing purple rays glowing between clouds multiple times.

Such a spiritual wonderland is naturally an ideal rest place for the deceased. Indeed, not only the inhabitants from nearby Dongcheng, but also as far as Guancheng and Wanjiang would carefully bury family members who had passed away in a well-chosen corner in the mountain. However, they didn’t foresee the urbanization that came so unexpectedly fast. As the park expanded, merged and was renovated over the last 30 years, tombs were ruined without the notifications of their owners. Therefore, some Guancheng locals allegedly do not need to sweep their tombs over Qingming Festival as there are no tombs left to sweep. A tragic fate for those who already died.

Walking up to the lantern, you will encounter an abandoned building on the edge of the platform right under the peak. The faintly visible sign indicates that a Cantonese dim sum restaurant was once in operation here. It was not a bad idea. People who visited to do some exercise enjoyed sitting down, having a drink of tea with delicate bite-sized snacks at this exclusive place. What went wrong you may ask? Well, for over two decades, the truth remained a mystery. The widely-believed story was that the short-lived establishment faced tremendous opposition from locals due to pollution and disturbance to nature, as if such a filthy business would likely ruin the Fengshui of their beloved park.