Enriching Philadelphia: Chinese Lantern Fest
This is an installment of our Enriching Philadelphia series, written by tutor Jane Wiedmann, highlighting enriching local activities in Philadelphia. Jane is an elementary tutor and painter with a degree in Art History. She recently attended the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival and wrote about her experience.
-Nightly in Franklin Square Park until June 11
– Buy tickets online to avoid having to wait in line: http://historicphiladelphia.org/chineselanternfestival/
-Timed tickets are required for Friday and Saturday
-Adults $17.00, Children $12.00, Seniors and Military $15.00
Last Sunday evening was a perfect early summer night, warm and breezy, a great time to do something fun close to home. The Chinese Lantern Festival is in its second year in Philadelphia, and judging from the happy crowd I joined, it’s already much beloved.
As I walked in under the lit canopy of flowers, I was immediately enchanted. A 200-foot long red and yellow dragon presides over scenes of Chinese culture, history, and symbolism. Mythical and natural beasts abound, and visitors crowd to take selfies with lanterns of their Chinese Zodiac animal. Giant flowers everywhere give things an Alice in Wonderland feel, and happy families and groups of friends take glowing-to-backlit pictures in front of every scene.
Walking under a canopy of lanterns has a hopeful and mystical effect, and it’s fun to stop and think of the creativity at work here—why not a giant prosperity-symbolizing goldfish blowing lantern-bubbles, giant light-up butterflies symbolizing the lightheartedness of love, a soothing field of peace doves, a romping tumble of panda bears? It’s great to be part of a world where people make delightful things simply to bring happiness, color, and light.
For sale, artists hand-paint lanterns, vases, and scrolls. A candymaker creates intricate dragon lollipops out of sugar, way too beautiful to eat.
This was a gift of an evening, to spend time with tourists and families, to give an hour to joy, to revel in beauty and learning. I exited through a candy-flowers-hearts walkway into the night, and all the lights of Philadelphia seemed brighter and more artfully chosen than before—the world had become a little more lanternlike.