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Lighting Up Beijing

February 06, 2017
Beijing Yanqing Lantern Festival Flower Exhibition
Who doesn’t love a lantern? There’s something impossibly pretty, romantic and magical about these rainbow-bright paper illuminations, eternally associated with China. What luck then that the Lantern Festival will be lighting up town on 11 February!

Bringing an end to China's most important celebration – the Spring Festival wrapping up the New Year period – this riot of lanterns, riddles, lion and dragon dances, and street food (especially spherical sweet-rice tangyuan dumplings in soup, with different fillings) is the last hoorah before all decorations are taken down. The Lantern Festival also marks the first full moon in the calendar, the return of spring and the reunion of family.

With a history dating back 2,000 years to an ancient Buddhist custom of lighting lanterns in temples, the focus is on lighting and releasing lanterns for good fortune. Lanterns come in all shapes and sizes, including traditional globes, fish, dragons and roosters, with vibrant artwork and written riddles on attached paper notes. You’ll see fixed, flying and floating ones, as well as small handheld lanterns. Naturally, fireworks come to the party, and you’ll see all manner of fun performances, from stilt-walking to folk dancing.

Festivals take place in many neighbourhoods, parks and public spaces, but in the capital a good place to experience the beauty of lanterns is the Beijing Yanqing Lantern Festival Flower Exhibition in Yanqing County (mid-January-end February). Everything is illuminated…

11 Feb, 2017.

Photo © Toa55, Thawiwat Sae-Heng, yushussain /