Friday, April 12, 2013

Chinese Lantern Festival

The official end to the Chinese New Year occurs on the 15th day of the first lunar month and is celebrated with a Lantern Festival.  In former days, the lighted paper lanterns were carried to the temples by the children and some had riddles on them to solve.  Today, families reunite to eat glutinous rice balls together.  People also released lighted balloons into the night like you see in the movie, Mulan.  Chengdu has celebrations in a couple of parks with huge fabric lanterns shaped like people, characters and objects.  We were told that Jinli Street would be a good place to see them.

Pandas are the symbol of Chengdu--I love the cowboy hat on the father!  Notice the one-child family group.

This is a HUGE several story lantern in the center of the area.  On the front is an LCD screen with movies or something showing on it.
The Wuhou Temple grounds are decorated with the typical pots of fresh flowers.

The area had a carnival atmosphere with several merchants' stalls selling snacks to eat and toys for the children.  We were interested in this cracker that was being made with a meat grinder!

Culinary Experts

This man has a pretty amazing pipe.  Hopefully by the time the smoke gets to his lungs, it's lost some of the nicotine!!

 Popcorn is a snack I can enjoy in China.  They make it like kettle corn with sugar on it.

 Oh, how I love the dragons!

This interesting sculpture is made from tea cups and saucers!!  Amazing!

The lanterns looked really fun when it got dark.  My camera is not so good a night shots, though, so I only got a few that were in focus.

It was a hot chocolate kind of night, so we had to succumb and head to Starbucks.  Not everything is like America, though, as you see by their resident cat.
The next day was Sunday, and after Church, we went to Tazishan Park with its beautiful Jiutian Tower of 13 stories.  There was a bigger party going on here, as it was the last day of the festival.  It's hard to tell, though, since everywhere you go in China is crowded.
Entrance Gate
The front tower (Temple of Heaven) is a lantern--the back tower is the Jiutian!

These lanterns are animated at night, so we were sorry that we couldn't stay to watch them.  They had one that was all about "Gangnum Style" and had animal lanterns doing the famous dance from the viral video.  Oh well, maybe next year.....

The Jiutian Tower

 Another sculpture made from tea cups and saucers.  They're so amazing!

Transformers are big in China, so they had a patronizing lantern display for the kids.

Here again were rows and rows of stalls with food and freshwater pearls and toys and other odds and ends to buy.  This salesman was really getting into the spirit of things! 

Rockin' Shish Kebabs

People watching is always an extra benefit of any China adventure. 


What an outfit!!  A tutu and high tops!

I love the crumbs on his mouth.

It's blurry, but check out these darling coats!!
 The next morning, we looked out our window and saw this lantern stuck in our tree.

We think it was released by the Merrills in Kansas and flew over here, like the Wizard of Oz's balloon.

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