Similar to people today, people in ancient China liked to attend book fairs and often held such events around Qixi Festival — also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day.
The book fair for ancient Chinese people, though, was more accurately a book drying fair, which was when people would move their book collections outside and expose them to sunlight in bid to prevent moths or mold.
During the 2023 Qixi Festival, which this year fell on Tuesday, a book drying fair was held in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, in an attempt to attract more attention to the protection of ancient books.
The book drying fair, held by National Library of China and Nanjing Library, has attracted bookworms from across China both online and in person.
There was an exhibition about the canals in Yangzhou where visitors could communicate with people from many provincial centers for the protection of ancient books and experience the local canal culture, all while exploring an ancient book fair.
China has had the tradition of drying books by exposing them to sunlight since ancient times. People often dry books during the sixth and seventh months of the Chinese lunar calendar.
Since 2019, more than 30 provinces and municipalities across the country have exhibited nearly 1,000 precious ancient books to the public around Qixi Festival, according to the National Library of China.