The Lantern Festival which falls on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month (March 5, 2015) is an indispensable part of China’s renowned Spring Festival. On this unique and rather special day, red lanterns, which symbolise good fortune, can be seen hanging in every corner of the city.
These exquisite lanterns are made of different materials and can come in different shapes and sizes, the majority however, are red and made of paper and are decorated with the relevant years zodiac sign. Riddles are also attached to the lanterns and for those who are able to solve these, prizes are rewarded.
Lantern Festival is usually celebrated at night and to witness a city come alive with colour in the form of paper lanterns is an illuminating experience for all. Even though lanterns dominate this festival, folk performances can also be seen staged in different districts throughout this enlightening period.
The following are some of this year’s highlights:
The Gongshu District lantern display, which can be seen from Mar. 4 to Mar. 6, is characterized this year by a large number of miniature lanterns. On every doorstep of every block lanterns can be seen swaying from the nearby canal’s breeze. What is also worth mentioning is that the core area of the Grand Canal (the canal-side area from Gongchen Bridge to Wulinmen Bridge) and its boats will also be decorated with red lanterns of various shapes and sizes, which some may say is simply ‘Gongshu District Shining in Silvery Light’, a term used since olden times to describe the prosperous scene around Gongshu District.
In addition, on Mar. 4 at 10am the opening ceremony of this year's lantern festival will take place at the west side of Canal Plaza.
Xiacheng District may not be displaying as many lanterns as other districts but it will enlighten you in many other ways.
From Mar. 3 to Mar. 7 Qiantang Lantern Show will be in full glow along Tianshui Lane (天水巷) and Wulin Block (武林街道) welcomes you, as always, to celebrate the festival by making Spring Festival couplets and the Chinese character '福’ (fortune) which is made by woodblock printing in Luyou Memorial Hall (陆游纪念馆).
From Mar. 4 to Mar. 5 there will be a temple fair in Wenhui Block (文晖街道) and three art performances can be seen lighting up the stage in Chaoming Street (潮呜街道).
In spite of the district’s construction works 130 blocks in Jiangnan District will still be hanging out their colourful lanterns for all to see as well as staging glowing opera performances in Jiubao Block (九堡街道) from Mar. 3 to Mar. 6 and in Dinglan Block (丁兰街道) on Mar. 4.