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Art Gallery Lights Up

23 February 2006

Art Gallery Lights Up

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu joins the Lantern Festival celebrations with a spectacular display of 20 red silk lanterns strung across the 90m glass sculptured wall from tomorrow (Friday, 24 February) to Wednesday, 1 March.

To mark the end of festivities for the Chinese New Year of the Dog, the Lantern Festival - to be held in Victoria Square on Saturday, 25 and Sunday, 26 February - will make an impressive night-time display over the coming weekend.

Lanterns have been part of the Chinese New Year celebrations since the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 221 AD) and come in all shapes and sizes, in the form of animals, insects, flowers, people and even machines and buildings. The favourite subject is the zodiac animal of the year, so Dog lanterns will be in abundance!

The Gallery's participation in the Festival celebrates Christchurch's diverse communities and in particular, the strong support of the Asian community for the Gallery.

It is said the holiday evolved from an ancient Chinese belief that celestial spirits could be seen flying about in the light of the first full moon of the lunar calendar. To aid them in their search for the spirits they used torches originally, but these gave way to lanterns.

The Lantern Festival is also popularly referred to as the Chinese Valentine's Day because in ancient times it gave girls and boys a rare chance to go out in the evening, and mingle. Today, Lantern Festivals are held each year in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan to mark the end of Chinese New Year celebrations.

Where: Gallery Foyer Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu From Friday, 24 February to Wednesday, 1 March


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