Albert Lit Up
Auckland’s 11th annual three-day Chinese Lantern Festival was held in February at Albert Park and featured performances by one of Shanghai’s top music ensembles Moon, Beijing-based Mongolian folk rock group Hanggai and rolling lantern folk dancers from Southern China. This year’s featured lantern is the new tiger lantern marking the Year of the Tiger in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. Most of the lanterns were made by the lantern-makers in Zigong in the western Chinese province of Sichuan. The Lantern Festival is traditionally held on the 15th day of Chinese Lunar New Year. Lantern festivals, known as yuan xiao jie, have been celebrated by the Chinese since the Han Dynasty in 206BC, and Auckland is one of the few places outside Asia to have a public celebration. Auckland University professor of Asian studies Manying Ip says the local festival has played a “pivotal role” in promoting an important aspect of Chinese culture to mainstream New Zealanders.