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Festival Lantern Exposition at the West Lake

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Written by: LI Chen
Photo by:LI Chen
Edited by:James Campion |  Date:2017/02/1244 Hits

Here in Huizhou, a major event is held from January 8th to February 28th at 18:30 to 22:00 every day to celebrate the Lunar New Year –  the West Lake Festival Lantern Exposition – an annual fair with a history of 10 years involving hundreds of eye-catching festival lanterns.

 

Since it first appeared in the Han Dynasty (202 B.C. - 220 A.D.), lanterns have been used to pray for safety and jubilance. Different from those of Mid-Autumn Festival, lanterns of Spring Festival tend to have more colors and shapes instead of solely red in color and oval in shape.

 

This year, 48 groups of assorted lanterns snake along the West Lake and illuminate the spot in a breathtaking way. Let’s take a look: lanterns moulded into fairies are so vivid as if they were to tell people the ancient local myths; standing by the road are the bunny cop, fox and sloth from the Hollywood animation Zootopia; Chinese mascots and zodiacs such as deer, monkeys and roosters (given that 2017 is the year of rooster) dot around bushes; trees sprinkled with oceans of butterfly-shaped lights cast their shadows on the surface of the lake, where the reflection of the historic stone bridge floats like a Chinese ink-wash painting drenched in water.

 

The bridge over the West Lake is decorated with lights

 

Deer-shaped lantern

 

With the activity held for 10 years, it has become a custom for locals to visit the spot during Spring Festival. Once the dusk envelops the city, families, couples and friends will all gather here to enjoy the unique view. There are people everywhere taking selfies, chatting, laughing, strolling with their beloved ones. According to statistics, 15,000 visitors have been attracted here every night since the lanterns were first exhibited.

 

The crowd

 

“What makes the exposition this year so different is that the VR (virtual reality) technology has been applied to the webcast on WeChat and our website. Citizens are able to enjoy the view without even stepping out of their rooms,” says the official website of the West Lake. Following the instruction, I opened the appointed webpage and with a simple click, the panorama of the exposition unfolded before me.

 

The panorama of the exposition

 

There are plenty of ways in China to celebrate the Lunar New Year, such as the dragon and lion dance or temple fair, but people in Huizhou chose another way – the way that combines modern technology with conventional craft and a historic site – the West Lake Festival Lantern Exposition.