Chinese lanterns have a long history in China and are associated with festive times. As New Yorkers gear up for the holiday season, a Chinese lantern festival is lighting up the night sky.
CGTN’s Karina Huber reports.
More than three hectares of New York real estate have been transformed into a winter wonderland lit up by more than a thousand LED displays.
One of the highlights of the NYC Winter Lantern Festival are its elaborate archways.
Many of the lanterns are inspired by Chinese culture including a display featuring four animals.
“The first time you see it, you don’t know what it is. It’s from Chinese traditional culture. We call it the four symbol. Each animal represents one direction. We have west, east, north and south,” said Haokun Liu, Producer of the NYC Winter Lantern Festival.
At a length of more than 30 meters, the alligator pathway that you can walk through is the longest lantern.
There’s also a huge dinosaur park that’s sure to thrill the kids as well as the holiday themed part of the exhibit.
All of the lanterns at the festival were made by Chinese artisans – hundreds of them who shipped the lanterns from China to the U.S.. Thirty of the craft workers even moved here for a month, living in nearby cottages, just to assemble the masterpieces.
Chinese lanterns, first introduced more than two thousand years ago during the Han Dynasty, have become an important part of Chinese cultural celebrations. Liu says it takes a lot of skill to make them out of LED lights.
“Each artisan – they need 10 years of experience to become a professional artisan to make the lanterns,” said Liu.
This is the second year in a row that Snug Harbor in Staten Island has put on this festival.
Organizers say last year’s event attracted an unexpectedly high number of visitors to a part of New York that is traditionally not on the radar.
“It was unbelievable,” said Aileen Fuchs, President of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. “Last year we thought ‘gosh, can we get 75,000 people to come out to Staten Island? It was so well received by the community who were so grateful to have world class cultural programming in their backyard.”
Organizers expect this year’s lantern festival to be an even bigger draw, as it has doubled in size. The event runs until January 12th .