For 2,000 years beginning during the Han dynasty, the Chinese have celebrated the Lunar New Year period with a colourful display of lanterns.
With 35 giant lanterns illuminating 14 acres of Hastings Park, the culturally significant tradition will be coming to Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition as a spectacular outdoor festival for five weeks starting on December 15.
Chinese lantern festivals traditionally begin on the fifteenth day of the first month of the Chinese calendar to gain the favour of Taiyi, the god of heaven, and pray for a good harvest.
Some of the lanterns at the Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival at the PNE will reach nearly 200 feet in length, with the largest lanterns being a dragon, white pagoda, Kylin beast, and the famous structures of the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Organizers say it will be the largest festival of its kind in Canada.
“We believe our lantern festivals can improve cultural communication between China and the world. It is our wish for communities globally to explore how the Chinese lantern festivals are celebrated and to discover why this festival is significant to people of Chinese decent,” said Bin Zhu, Director of Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co. Ltd, the company organizing the event, in a statement.
In addition to the lantern displays, the festival will boast two 30-minute nightly performances, held inside the PNE Auditorium, featuring face changing, acrobatics, plate spinners, folk dance, jar balancing, and Erhu. There will also be food and beverages and activities for young children.
The Chinese Lantern Festival will ensure Vancouver’s 2017/18 holiday season will be brightly lit with activities and events. It compliments other events such as Bright Nights in Stanley Park, the Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden, and the Vancouver Christmas Market.
It is also fills in a void left by Enchant Christmas, which is cancelled this year due to difficulties with finding a larger and accessible site.
Where: Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver (entrance at the corner of Renfrew Street and Hastings Street)
When: Friday, December 15, 2017 to Thursday, January 21, 2018
Tickets: Adults (13-64) – $19; Seniors (65+) – $14.50; Children (4-11) – $13.50; Children under 3 years old – free. Nightly performances included.