Lighting up the world

By Yang Xiaoyu | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-14 07:45
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Lantern festivals add magic to celebrations and their designs are deeply inspired by traditional culture, Yang Xiaoyu reports.

Shortly after organizing the lantern carnival at the Aldrich Bay Park in Hong Kong on Sept 24, Wan Songtao and his team hurried back to their hometown of Zigong in Sichuan province, where another grand lantern show was on the cards.

"The older I grow, the more attached I become to lantern making. Sometimes I find myself mulling over how to design lanterns in my dreams," the 54-year-old craftsman and entrepreneur tells China Daily.

Early in the morning after landing in Zigong, Wan went to inspect work at Chinese Lantern World, which on Sept 27 was transformed into an ocean of light and color by massive lanterns in the shape of humans, flowers, animals and buildings, made to celebrate both the Mid-Autumn Festival, which fell on Sept 29 this year, and National Day on Oct 1.

"For this lantern fair, we derived inspiration from ancient Chinese poems about Mid-Autumn Festival," Wan says, adding that Tianshang Gongque ("the moon palace"), the centerpiece and one of 21 core lantern installations at the fair, was inspired by Song Dynasty (960-1279) poet Su Dongpo's The Mid-Autumn Festival (Tune: Prelude to Water Melody).

The installation, which was composed of 19 palace-style structures, stretched 270 meters and rose high into the sky, drawing visitors' eyes up to a "full moon", a round LED screen showing Chang'e, goddess of the moon, flying toward her palace.

The eight-day holiday attracted over 210,000 visitors from around China to the remote city, which is known for being home to one of the world's best lantern shows.

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