A lantern festival comes to light in Melbourne

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The Light up Melbourne (Supplied by Timeout)

A world-class lantern festival has lit up the banks of the Yarra River. The event included giant custom-built lanterns as well market stalls and entertainment at Birrarung Marr from April 6 to 9.

Light Up Melbourne Festival manager Eddy Liu said similar events had been held all around the world, including in the US, UK, Singapore, France, Belgium and Germany. This year, it’s only Australian showing was in Melbourne.

Lanterns that represent the Chinese Gods Prosperity (Fu), Status (Lu), Longevity (Shou) and Happiness (Xi). Photo: Ceci Mak.

“Traditional lanterns appear in Chinese history and Chinese New Year and also in the moon festival. But, over time, (lanterns are) used over different festivals because the lights are beautiful and bring joyfully and warm togetherness when people see them,” Liu said.

“It’s really to showcase something that’s so important and part of Chinese heritage. There are small and other lantern displays, but they have never done a really holistic festival in the past in Melbourne.”

Liu indicated the biggest challenge of holding the event was getting the lights into Australia and event logistics. He hopes to bring a new festival or event calendar to Melbourne that lasts for years to come.

Chinese Gate Gods. Photo: Ceci Mak

Organisers chose designs and symbols that are closely tied to Chinese heritage and culture. The event displays nine main traditions and blessing lantern-light installations that pay homage to the Chinese Lantern festival.

The impressive Eternal Dragon lantern. Photo: Ceci Mak

A 27m long x 6m high ‘Eternal Dragon’ was the centre point. The dragon symbolises propitiously, nobility, powers and the highest good in China. The festival displays other representative lanterns, such as national treasure pandas and cranes, which stand for longevity.

Panda Village. Photo: Ceci Mak
The Bamboo Walk and Majestic Flying Cranes. Photo: Ceci Mak
Peafowl. Photo: Ceci Mak
A special performance of dragon boats on the Yarra River. Photo: Ceci Mak

The light up festival serving a market with over 80 stalls. A special food section “Little Sichuan” provide the best and traditional Sichuanese cuisine. With a friendly reminder, Sichuanese cuisine is very spicy food.

Little Sichuan. Photo: Supplied by David’s Cuisine)

There were also cultural performances and games for festival goers to enjoy, and the event proved to be a hot check-in place with families, friends and couples who wanted a light and happy night.

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