Thousands of people from across the world gathered at the birthplace of William Shakespeare on Saturday to pay homage to the British playwright on the 400th anniversary of his death.
A theatrical parade through Stratford-upon-Avon kicked off around 10:15 a.m. local time to honor the Bard, who died on April 23, 1616. It was attended by more than 10,000 people.
The procession saw participants dressed in Shakespearean characters carry a floral tribute through the town, as crowds, many of them wearing masks of the Bard, watched on, waving flags and throwing rosemary branches to create a great remembrance.
One of the most exciting moments came at about 11 a.m. when people in the town, men and women, young and old, all put on Shakespeare masks.
After the parade concluded at noon, people holding flowers went to the Holy Trinity, a church where Shakespeare was buried, to pay their tribute.
"I just can't believe it when ten thousands of people put the masks on, and it's a very special souvenir for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death," said Geoff Tristram, a British artist who took part in the parade on Saturday morning.
Gemma Goddon, marketing and communications manager of Shakespeare's England, or the official local tourism guide, said Shakespeare was not only the pride of people who live in Stratford-upon-Avon and Britain, but for people in the world.
A resident in the town, Gemma said she is proud that so many people from around the world came to join the celebration for Shakespeare's legacy.
A group of people from Fuzhou City, east China's Jiangxi Province, hometown of Chinese Ming Dynasty playwright Tang Xianzu, also took part in the parade. This year also marks 400th anniversary of death of Tang, considered as the Shakespeare of China.
At the garden of Shakespeare's Birthplace, performers from Fuzhou City Saturday performed selections of Tang's renowned plays, such as Peony Pavilion and The Story of the Purple Hairpin, as well as Fuzhou's traditional folk dances.
"I'm very happy there are such an international flavor to the events, and we will have international bands, musicians and performers from all over the world to give performances in the garden," said Ian Harvey-Stone, actor and interpreter at Shakespeare's Birthplace.