Guangzhou locals and visitors alike will have a chance to join in holiday festivities on March 2, when a host of celebrations will take place in honor of the annual Lantern Festival.
The festival, which falls on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar every year, is an important part of the Spring Festival for Chinese families. It marks the first full moon of the Chinese New Year, symbolizing unity and perfection.
The temple fair is an indispensable feature of any Lantern Festival celebration. The Eighth Cantonese Temple Fair will be hosted from March 2 to 8 at Chenghuang Temple and nearby areas, featuring a variety of folk performances, intangible cultural heritage exhibitions, and lantern shows.
A special non-profit foundation was recently set up for the Cantonese Temple Fair to help spread its influence and organize non-profit cultural activities. The foundation is currently looking to raise one million yuan ($160,000) to provide better food for the elderly and free art training for children of poor families.
Other highlights of the temple fair will include opera shows staged in Guangzhou Friendship Theatre and a food expo at Zhongyou Square in Chenghuang Temple. According to organizers, there will even be special airline temple fairs on some China Southern Airlines flights where air-hostesses will ask passengers questions about the Cantonese Temple Fair and offer gifts for correct answers.
A performance is staged at Chenghuang Temple to celebrate the Lantern Festival. [Photo/ycwb.com]
A special airline temple fairs is held on one of the China Southern Airlines' flights. [Photo/southcn.com]
Lantern shows can be seen at two separate Guangzhou venues - Culture Park and Yuexiu Park.
The lantern show in Culture Park will begin on March 2 and run until March 4. The event has been held for 10 consecutive years and is free to visitors. There will be a wealth of lanterns on display during the show with a variety of different themes. Traditional Cantonese music will also be played, bringing a unique sensory experience to visitors. Other cultural events in the park will include a painting exhibition and an event involving lantern riddles.
The lantern show at Yuexiu Park, originally held in 2012, is the largest of its kind in Guangzhou, and this year's show will be even larger than previous ones. it will be held from Feb 8 to March 11, and will include several unique exhibitions, such as a giant dragon-shaped lantern made of recycled perfume bottles which can wiggle its head as if it were alive.
The South China Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is another essential place to visit during the Lantern Festival. The ongoing peony exhibition will last until March 11 and visitors will be able to admire over 10,000 peonies of more than 100 varieties from both home and abroad.
On March 3 and March 4, a special Han Chinese clothing show will be held at the garden from 10:30-11:00 and 14:00-15:00. On March 8, International Women's Day, the garden will offer a 50 percent discount to all female visitors to its peony greenhouse.
Peonies are in bloom at the South China Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. [Photo/Nanfang Plus]
Over 10,000 peonies of more than 100 varieties from both home and abroad can be seen at the South China Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. [Photo/Nanfang Plus]
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