Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Enter The Dragon

The Lantern Festival has been part of Chinese New Year celebrations since the Han Dynasty (206 BC- 221 AD).
Usually held on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar, it marks the end of New Year festivities. The holiday evolved from an ancient Chinese belief that celestial spirits could be seen flying about in the light of the first full moon of the lunar calendar. To aid them in their search for the spirits they used torches. These torches gave way to lanterns of every shape, size and colour.
The festival is also popularly referred to as Chinese Valentine’s Day because in days of old it gave girls and boys a rare chance to go out in the evening and mingle. Today Lantern Festivals are held each year in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan to mark the end of Chinese New Year celebrations. Competitions are held to select the best lanterns. These lanterns come in all shapes and sizes: animals, insects, flowers, people or even machines or buildings. Others depict scenes from popular stories teaching traditional values. A favourite subject is the zodiac animal of the year - which in 2012 is the dragon.
Dragons are charismatic, ambitious and prefer to live by their own rules. They’re driven, willing to take risks, and are not afraid of challenges. They’re also passionate people who put a great deal of energy into all that they do. However, this enthusiasm can leave dragons feeling exhausted! If you were born in 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988 or 2000, then you are a dragon and this is your year!
The colours, sights, smells and tastes all combine to make an exciting Festival - and a great introduction to Asian culture: a fun family evening.
Auckland Lantern Festival: Feb.3-5, Albert Park
Christchurch Lantern Festival: Feb.11-12, Carlton Corner, North Hagley Park

No comments: