Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Chineses Festival of Lights

by T. M. Smith (writer), Los Angeles, October 26, 2006

For Yu Qinying, decorating a 100 meter long, 15 foot high Dragon with fine china is all in a day’s work. The woman from China is in Los Angeles putting the finishing touches on the larger Dragon lantern in time for Lantern Festival which opens Friday at Hollywood Park.

Qinying, and over 40 other Chinese workers arrived here earlier in the month to help create this traditional Chinese festival of lights. They have been working round-the-clock to erect over thirty large lantern structures that will be the showpieces of the festival.

“We are delighted to bring the splendor of the Lantern Festival to America,” stated Kris S. Jang, President Global Culture Park, Inc. “We’re sure people of all cultures will enjoy experiencing the rich history and tradition of this spectacular Lantern Festival.”

Known as the festival of lights In Chinese culture, the Lantern Festival, is a traditional celebration usually held at the end of the Chinese New Year. During the festival children would go out at night carrying bright lanterns. In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate lanterns. Now lanterns are embellished with complex designs and are often made in shapes of animals.

The festival also once served as a day for love and matchmaking. It was one of the few nights in China without a strict curfew. Young people were chaperoned in the streets with the hope of finding love, while matchmakers were busy pairing couples. Often, those carrying the brightest lanterns were considered symbols of good luck and hope.

Each of the lanterns on display during the two month long festival has special Chinese cultural symbolism and is created using Chinese art techniques or materials originating from China.

In another section of the festival grounds, Yang Zeying, is ripping fine silk for her dragon structure. The dragon, considered the symbol of the Chinese people, is just one of the iconic structures that will light the evening sky during the festival. Another traditional structure, The Peacock, which represents nobleness and wealth, is made entirely from tiny colored glass bottles.

To the Chinese, the Phoenix brings luck and good fortune. A lantern of two flying Phoenixes, is composed of more than 300 thousand hand placed silkworm cocoons.

Organizers believe this cultural event will appeal too many in Los Angeles, a city known for its cultural diversity and large Asian population. This marks the first time a traditional Lantern Festival has taken place in the United States.

A portion of the proceeds from attendance fees will be donated to the Pacific American Volunteer Association (PAVA) which works hard to clean the environment in and around Los Angeles.

The Lantern Festival runs nightly October 27 through December 31 at Hollywood Park.

About the Writer

T. M. Smith is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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