Xu River, Dingbu, childhood memories

author:Research on the history and culture of Xuancheng

Zhou Shengyuan Lv Guanlin

WeChat Edition No. 1345

Dingbu was called Deng Bu in ancient times, and a settlement was formed in the Spring and Autumn Period, and it was renamed Dingbu during the Ming Jiajing period, and it was called Dingbu Town after Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty. Dingbu is bounded by the Xuxi River and divided into two small towns: south and north. The common people called Langxi Dingbu Henan, and Gaochundingbu as Hebei.

Since the Ming Dynasty, there have been three three-hole and two-pier stone slab bridges on the Xuxi River, including the upper bridge, the middle bridge and the lower bridge, of which the middle bridge (also known as the Tongjing Bridge) is an important channel for the northern transportation of tea, fungus and other mountain goods in the southern mountains of Anhui. On both sides of the Xuxi River, there are Hui-style buildings with green tiles and white walls, pavilions and pavilions, the river is clear, and the scenery is not inferior to the well-known ancient town of Zhouzhuang. Dingbu is located at the intersection of three counties in Suwan Province, with a unique geographical location, coupled with the Xuxi River running through it from east to west, convenient water transportation, so it has become a commercial port where merchants gather and materials are distributed, and it has always been known as "Little Shanghai".

Xu River, Dingbu, childhood memories

The layout of Dingbu Market Town is very distinctive, the north and south of the Xu Xi River form a market street lined with merchants, stretching for about 1 kilometer, and there are elevated "water pavilion" buildings built along the river in the central area, and pubs, tea houses and inns are opened, and the road surface is all bluestone. On both sides of the strait, stone "water ports" were built for people to draw water and wash them. At the same time, there are several cargo terminals for docking ships. Water transport directly connects Liyang, Changzhou, Wuxi and the Taihu Lake Basin, and is an important port for department stores, grain and oil distribution, and there are regular "small steamers" and "shuttle boats" (powered by porters and sails) every day. The outer streets on the north and south sides are concentrated and contiguous houses.

Dingbu not only has local merchants, but also several well-known Hui shops, such as the well-known Henan "Tian Renhe" and Hebei "Detaiyuan" and "Wang Deyuan" and other businesses are the "semicolons" of Hui merchants, operating Beijing-Guangzhou department stores and north-south miscellaneous goods. Grain shops, salt shops, restaurants, tea houses, Chinese and Western pharmacies are doing prosperous business, and every year there are four well-known temple fairs on the 8th day of the second lunar month, February 18, July 24 and August 24 of the lunar calendar, attracting many merchants from Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai to set up stalls in Dingbu to sell goods.

There are four major surnames in Dingbu, the Zhou family and the Lu family in Henan, and the Rui family and the Yang family in Hebei. There are Zhou's Ancestral Hall, Lü's Ancestral Hall, Rui's Ancestral Hall and Yang's Ancestral Hall. These four ancestral halls are all Ming Dynasty buildings, and the scale is magnificent, no less than the "Hu Ancestral Hall" in Longchuan, Jixi County. During the Anti-Japanese War, the Japanese army built a bunker in the Zhou Ancestral Hall, which was destroyed by the war and rebuilt on the original site on the eve of liberation. The best preserved number of "Lü's Ancestral Halls", after the liberation, Dingbu Primary School was located inside, carved beams and painted pillars, and famous stone monuments were well preserved. In the twelfth year of the reign of Ming Hongzhi (1499), Lü Sheng (字定庵), a native of Dingbu, was a deputy envoy to Tuntian, Yunnan, and after returning to his hometown, he closed his door as an apprentice, respected by the clansmen, and was known as "deputy envoy". Until the liberation, many ancient buildings and cultural relics such as the "Jinshidi" and the torii were still preserved.

The real Dingbu people are the "natives" of Langxi, and the real Dingbu dialect belongs to the Wu dialect, which is not understood by ordinary outsiders. For example: "old age" - this way, "too old" - that, and so on. After the defeat of the Taiping Rebellion, a large number of Hunan, Hubei, and Henan people moved to Dingbu, known as "guest people", and the language of Dingbu was mixed.

Xu River, Dingbu, childhood memories

Dingbu is a place that emphasizes education and culture. During the Southern Song Dynasty, the ancestor of the Lü clan in Dingbu ran a school in Zhuduntou. In 1907, Gaochun County and Jianping County jointly established the first public school, located in the Lü Clan Ancestral Hall in Dingbu. At the end of the Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the People's Dynasty, there were two complete primary schools in Dingbu, which were located in the Ancestral Mountain Temple and the Lü Family Ancestral Hall. Due to the good quality of schooling, Dingbu Primary School in Langxi County has attracted many students from some townships in Langxi County, such as Gangnan, Lingdi and Xiahu, and some students from Gaochun Dingbu have also crossed the river to go to school. Dingbu Primary School has gradually become a well-known primary school in Langxi, and many excellent teachers have come to teach at the school.

Famous teachers naturally become apprentices. I remember that in 1955, 17 of the 29 graduates of Dingbu Primary School were admitted to Langxi Junior High School, accounting for 15.5% of the 110 students enrolled in Langxi Junior High School that year. After the liberation, more than 20 doctors, including Qian Keming, Zhou Aoying, and Gao Ming, emerged after graduating from Dingbu Primary School and becoming talents for national construction.

Xu River, Dingbu, childhood memories

The rice culture in Dingbu is also wonderful. Every New Year's holiday, Peking opera classes and tin opera classes in Wuxi, Suzhou and other places (Dingbu people call them "Xiajiang teams") are invited to sing on stage, and perform for several days. The thousand-year-old folk sacrifice god dance "Dancing Five Rampant", the magnificent Dingbu Lü's "pony lantern" has endured for a long time and enjoys a good reputation; The "Blessing Meeting" organized every year to commemorate Zhang Xun in the Tang Dynasty is even more grand and lively.

Today, the Xu River has been widened into a three-class channel, which can pass through thousand-ton ships all year round, and has a wharf with an annual throughput of 10 million tons. The old bridge has been removed and replaced with four road and pedestrian bridges.

Xu River, Dingbu, childhood memories

(The authors are all from Dingbu, Langxi County, Zhou Shengyuan was the director of the Xuancheng City Family Planning Committee, and Lv Guanlin is currently the executive vice president of the Xuhe Culture Promotion Association)