During your stay with us we recommend you join the Cantabrians for a vibrant cultural experience by celebrating The Chinese Lantern Festival. This iconic festival will light up North Hagley Park again this weekend, on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 March. It will run from 5pm until 10.30pm and admission is free, so bring the family along for one of our truly unique Christchurch events right in the city! Did you know 2013 is a symbol of new beginnings and the year of the Snake?
Christchurch will be glowing this weekend as we celebrate the Chinese Lantern Festival.
The Chinese Lantern Festival History
This popular event can be thought of as celebrating the last day of the Spring Festival, or the new-year festival of China. According to the ancient custom of the chinese folklore, people on that night light up beautiful decorative lanterns to celebrate and appreciate the hue of the moon. Also known as Shangyuan Festival, The Chinese Lantern Festival is celebrated on January 15 using the Chinese lunar calendar. The Chinese use the first full moon in the lunar year and celebrate this at night providing amazing visual appeal. In Christchurch however it is an 'end of Summer' event, and what a great way to say farewell to a hot and dry Summer.
Celebrating Chinese Tradition
The Chinese Lantern Festival is more than just lanterns, fireworks are also often lit, riddles are written on lanterns and rice glue balls are consumed all in the name of tradition. This practice stems back from the Eastern Han Dynasty, which has had an influence on the beginnings of Buddhism within China. Monks would visit sarira and light up these lanterns to respect Buddha on the day Jan 15. Emperors of that dynasty honoured that convention, and had the determination to promote Buddhism to all. How it then become a public celebration is due to the ordering of communities to hang the lanterns on temples and palaces on the night, again out of respect to Buddha himself. From this civilian request arose the public festival known as the Chinese Lantern Festival.
Enjoying Christchurch's Lantern Festival
At times our weather can be a little unpredictable, so be prepared especially if taking along young children. Hagley Park is a lovely open space, however you may find it more comfortable to bring along warm clothing, and a cushion or deck chair. Also come along early so you can get an optimal view of the festive activities and make the most of the fun 'family friendly' vibe and colourful celebrations.
Amenities at the Festival
For your convenience delicious Asian food stalls will be present to satisfy those hunger pangs. Adding to the atmosphere on this (hopefully) balmy Summer night, you'll find non-stop entertainment including the Omnipotent Youth Society rock band. This talented clan are from Beijing, and are a classical music group. There will also be entertaining acrobats from Shanghai to keep you and the kids totally enthralled and it's a great way to celebrate one of Christchurch's latest events.
Where to Find the Chinese Lantern Festival
Hagley Park is situated in close proximity to the city, and is nearby the Arts Centre. If you catch the bus to the city centre it is just a 10 minute walk away. On your journey to the festival you will see the impressive progression of the city rebuild. We hope you make the time to enjoy this fascinating event and take part in the the festive celebrations.