The Chinese Lantern Fest returns after an enforced break


There are 30 lantern displays using 20,000 LED lights, and many are interactive: a tunnel of artificial wisteria changes color as you pass through it, a cascade of smoke-filled floating soap bubbles, a heart that only lights up when two people stand on it together. the platform.

Visitors walk through a tunnel of lanterns at the Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square. (Emma Lee/WHY)

A favorite of Julie Crowe, another preview visitor, is a grove of tall columns of lanterns whose lights are triggered by drumming.

“I love that there’s so much movement,” she said. “The fountain now lights up, and the wisteria changes color, and the different fish elements move. I think that’s pretty cool.

Traditionally, Lantern Festivals are celebrated in China on the 15th day of the lunar year, usually in February, bringing New Year’s celebrations to a close. Tianyu is the largest producer of Lantern Festivals in North America, sending truckloads of steel, silk and mechanics in the cities of the country throughout the year.

The largest lantern at the festival is the iconic serpentine dragon, which is 200 feet long and weighs three tons.

The 200-foot-long, 21-foot-tall dragon lantern glows red in the dark.
The largest lantern at the Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square is the 200-foot-long, 21-foot-tall dragon. (Emma Lee/WHY)

A Tianyu spokesman, Liu Liong, said business has slowed significantly during the pandemic, but with renewed interest, the company is developing new lantern designs. The theme of the ocean features prominently at the Philadelphia festival, with an extensive set of lanterns depicting giant underwater creatures.

Philadelphia’s festival proximity to Chinatown sets it apart from other cities.

“When I’m here, I think I’m home, because Chinatown is very close to here,” Liong said. “This time, we bring many Chinese elements here, such as the dragon, the drum, and the Temple of Heaven. I see a lot of Chinese here. I really like this city.


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