London Celebrates Chinese New Year with the First Magical Lantern Festival outside the Far East

Last update: 7 months ago

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February seems to be the 3 pm for gardeners, doesn’t it? It’s both too early and too late to do anything in the garden besides some pruning. And while you’re sowing seeds and dividing bulbs hoping for some stunning blooms come spring, how would you like to revel in some fascinating displays of illuminated over-sized plants and flowers, complete with a giant flowing lotus?

All of these plus parades, fireworks, and cultural experiences will get you again in a festive spirit even if it’s been only weeks since you replanted your Christmas tree. And what’s best, it will all take place at the iconic Chiswick House Gardens.

From February 3rd (TODAY) until March 6th, West London will be the scene of spectacles of art and light and live cultural staged performances as part of London’s Chinese New Year celebrations. For the first time a city outside the far East will host the Magical Lantern Festival. It will showcase life-size and oversized lanterns in various designs, as well as a 66-metre long dragon for the traditional dragon dance – according to legend, the longer the dragon, the more good luck it will bring, so looks like we’ll be having lots of good fortune coming our way. Visitors will also get the chance to walk the Corridors of Light, consisting of 50 hand-sculpted interactive lanterns in a variety of shapes, and see replicas of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven and the Imperial Palace.

In the Chinese calendar, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, and to celebrate that organisers have included in the programme a lantern recreation of the popular fable The Monkey King, which will take place at the backdrop of an illuminated waterfall at Chiswick House. Other attractions at the Chinese Lantern Festival include a glowing Animal Kingdom and an Enchanted Forest, as well as an East meets West event and of course all the essentials that no festival would be complete without, such as a food market and a gift shop.
For information on events, opening hours, and tickets, please check with the organisers. Photo courtesy: Magical Lantern Festival.

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