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Magical Lantern Festival in Chiswick Gardens, London

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Magic Lantern

Magic Lantern

 

The Magical Lantern Festival is held at Chiswick Gardens in celebration of the start of Chinese New Year, the year of the Fire Monkey. This Magical Lantern Festival lasts for 5 weeks and closes on 7th March 2016.

 

Magical Lantern Festival - The opening Ceremony by the Temple of Heaven Lantern. Note the 2 Chinese lions on either side of the Principals of the ceremony.

The opening Ceremony by the Temple of Heaven Lantern. Note the 2 Chinese lions on either side of the Principals of the ceremony.

 

Magical Lantern Festival - The Entrance Arch with the 12 Zodiac animals Lanterns behind.

The Entrance Arch with the 12 Zodiac animals Lanterns in the Background

 

Chinese Culture and Lanterns

The Chinese have been using Lanterns since the Western Han dynasty (156 to 87BC). The Lantern is a practical solution to keep the lighted flame by shielding it from the wind. It has been used as a moving lamp or for working at night. With the history of about two thousand years, there has been the human urge for craftsmanship – to create the colourful and elaborate structures which form the basis of the many lantern festivals.

 

Magical Lantern Festival - The Lantern at the entrance to the Magical Lantern Festival

The Lantern at the entrance to the Magical Lantern Festival

 

Magical Lantern Festival - Everlasting fortune flowing from the Wealth Vase. The symbols of prosperity are around the Vase - Gold coins, Gold nuggets etc.

Everlasting fortune flowing from the Wealth Vase. The symbols of prosperity are around the Vase – Gold coins, Gold nuggets etc.

 

In Chinese Culture, there are 2 Lantern Festivals based on the Chinese calendar. This first one, commonly known as “Chap Goh Mei” is held on the 15th Day of the Chinese New Year. This day is the 1st full moon of the New Year. These Lantern Festivals are celebrated by the Chinese around the world. This day is also the Chinese equivalent of St Valentine’s Day where unattached ladies would go to the bridge and drop oranges into the flowing river. Men would collect these oranges further down the river.  It is said that they would take a chance in contacting the lady based on the “sweetness” of the orange. The activities of this day include fireworks, stage shows, dinners and other celebrations.

The other Lantern Festival is the Mid-Autumn Festival or the Moon cake Festival where the Lanterns are carried around the town or village.

 

The Magical Lantern Festival in Chiswick

Magical Lantern Festival - A Chinese Vase Lantern

A Chinese Vase Lantern

 

A Chinese Imperial Palace Lantern

A Chinese Imperial Palace Lantern

 

Lanterns Festivals are part of Chinese Culture. The Magical Lantern Festival in Chiswick is a celebration of this Chinese tradition. Chiswick Park is lit up with these artistic creations which not only depict Chinese Culture but also, Western Culture, Plant and Animals. This Festival displays the skill and artistry of the artisans who created these lanterns.  The layout of various lanterns are well thought out as it utilises the space and paths of Chiswick Gardens.  The placement of the lanterns around the lake are used to gain maximum display of the lanterns.  On the whole, it is a well planned lantern festival. The paths are lit with the ambient lighting of the lanterns. In my opinion, it is safe to walk around and safe enough for push chairs to move around the park safely. Safety is an important issue as there will be large numbers of people visiting the Lantern Festival.

 

Lantern Festivals in the UK.

 

The Chinese Dragon Lantern – The Dragon is the symbol of the Chinese.

The Chinese Dragon Lantern – The Dragon is the symbol of the Chinese.

 

 

Champagne glasses

Glasses with Champagne with the Fizz

 

This is the second Chinese Lantern Festival in the UK. I have previously posted a blog on the Festival of Light at Longleat Park.  This is also the second festival of light in London where I reported on the Lumiere London 2016.

This Magical Lantern Festival is certainly well worth a visit, especially, it is the first of its kind in London.

 

A Mandarin Duck with a reflection on the lake.

A Mandarin Duck with a reflection on the lake.

 

Flowers

Flowers

 

Water Lilies

Water Lilies

 

A Vase of Flowers.

A Vase of Flowers.

 

Magical Lantern Festival is held in Chiswick Gardens until 7th March 2016. Further details at http://magicallantern.uk/

 

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