Lanterns light up across China, marking end of Spring Festival

China 24

They bring light to the Lunar New Year like no other. Lanterns traditionally symbolize wishes for a bright future during Lunar New Year, and this year, they have evolved into even more spectacular displays.

CGTN’s Frances Kuo reports from Washington.

Across China, Lunar new year still hangs in the air, literally.

Red lanterns are the most widely recognized, and among the most traditional.

But through the years — lanterns of all shapes and sizes are catching people’s attention. Taking center stage at a festival in Liaocheng in the Western part of Shandong province is a lantern that’s 28 meters long and 8 meters tall.

The theme: “Birds paying homages to the phoenix”

In Datong, located in North China’s Shanxi province, the lantern show has grown even bigger. This year’s show covers an area of 3 million square miles, lighting up the hearts of thousands of tourists from China and abroad.

“I feel like I’m in a part of heaven now,” said U.S. tourist Steven Pichichero.

In central China’s Henan province, visitors got a brief history of China’s Three Kingdoms period, with the help of 30,000 lanterns.

A lantern display jointly run by a district of Fuzhou city and Taiwan’s Matsu islands, conveyed a message of harmony. It’s a collaborative effort now in its 15th year.

Tradition runs even deeper in Southwestern Shibing County in Guizhou province where lanterns dominate a straw dragon dance that dates back 500 years.

Lanterns make up the body of the dragon, which is covered with wood and straw, symbolizing prosperity.

“It’s mainly out of my interest, and has become a hobby,” 71-year-old craftsman Wang Chenghao said.

Wang has been making lanterns by hand for more than 30 years. For a rabbit lantern, the meticulous cutting, sanding, and pasting takes up to three hours.

“There are at least 22 tiers in the structure of the rabbit head. [you must] bind them together with two tiers for one circle, and then make it really round,” he said.

Wang has been invited to teach this folk art to younger generations to keep the tradition shining for years to come.