The Chinese Lantern Festival illuminates Philadelphia with the Chinese culture this Spring

The 200-foot-long dragon lightens up the whole park. It is a huge hit of the festival. Photo Credit: Visit Philly

This spring, Philadelphia’s Franklin Square will light up the city with an awe-inspiring and cultural experience for all of Philadelphia to enjoy. Returning for its second year, the Chinese Lantern Festival will run from May 9 to June 11, 2017 with new, innovative creations along with the traditional favorites from last spring. This family-friendly festival will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. This festival is rain or shine.

Hosted at a Philadelphia landmark, the Chinese Lantern Festival includes life-size, illuminated silk sculptures and authentic crafts that are constructed by Chinese artisans. These lanterns are lit up with bright LED lights, providing breathtaking displays and dazzling exhibits throughout the festival.

The Chinese Lantern Festival’s debut was in April 2016, where it ran for seven weeks and welcomed over 92,000 visitors from all 50 states and even 10 foreign countries. With this many visitors, the event bought in over $200,000 for the park. The festival is known to bring a financial increase to the surrounding businesses as well as boosting cultural knowledge.

This year the festival will be doing all of this and more.

This spring, for five weeks the Franklin Square will glow with 29 over-sized lanterns, 1,500 sculptures and over 15,000 LED lights. The festival will be bringing back the famous 200-foot-long Chinese dragon and the three-story-tall pagoda as centerpieces to the festival. There will also be illuminated arches for guests to walk through and admire. Lastly, Historic Philadelphia will conduct a Chinese Lantern Festival Student Design Contest, which gives students in the area the opportunity to design their own, unique lantern and have it created in a 3-D model for this year’s festival. From March 1 until March 31, students were able to submit drawings, which the artisans will turn into real life, LED lanterns for the festival. The winner of the contest will be able to take their sculpture home with them at the end of this year’s festival.

Included with the price of your ticket are live performances featuring Chinese acrobats and dancers using traditional music and dance. There will be two different nightly shows offered at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. for families of all ages to enjoy. The performances will be held on the Great Lawn, which is located on the Race Street side of Franklin Square. In addition to the performances, there will be crafters and artisans selling homemade souvenirs at stations throughout the park.

The Chinese Lantern Festival is a celebration of light and culture. In order for this festival to happen, 20 Chinese artisans will be in Philly for an entire month to construct, assembly and decorate these lanterns for the festival.

Chinese artisans created these magnificent steel-framed and silk-wrapped lanterns as they were taught in China. The artisans shaped them as giant animals, flowers, trees and other traditional Chinese symbols to exemplify the bright culture they have. After the silk is wrapped around the steel frame, each artisan hand-paints the lanterns to create the beautiful images as a finished piece. These vibrant lanterns are not a sight to miss.

These lanterns are very authentic and have a strong correlation to the Chinese culture. Zignong, a city in China, has been known as the capital of lantern making for thousands of years. In fact, the skills of lantern-making that the artisans have are passed down from generation to generation in this city. This being said, the lanterns are completely authentic and true to the Chinese culture.

“Our company started in China before expanding internationally. We host these festivals in China as well and they are very similar to our US festivals. Traditional Chinese symbolism can be found throughout the displays, and one of our goals as a company is to provide an authentic cultural experience. Since we are a Chinese company, the experience is much more authentic than similar productions but we also keep in mind the fact that our audience in the US has different expectations and customs than our audience in China,” said Amanda Newell, a representative of Tianyu Arts & Culture Inc. Tianyu Arts & Culture Inc is known for their ability to combine Chinese culture and entertainment in light festivals throughout the United States.

This blockbuster event exemplifies the brilliance of Chinese culture for all to observe, admire and learn from. It is obvious that there is such a strong representation of culture displayed throughout this festival. This shows the Philadelphia community what the Chinese culture is all about.

Amanda Newell continues, “Our mission is to offer an authentic, memorable cultural experience to help bridge the gap between China and the US. We frequently hear positive feedback from those who say they will likely never have the opportunity to visit China but felt like they experienced the second best thing by coming to one of our festivals. We hope to continue to return to Philadelphia, as we would love to become a special tradition for families and locals. We also hope that our visitors leave the festival with an increased understanding and knowledge of Chinese culture.”

Franklin Square is a family-fun and beautiful park that is located in the heart of Historic Philadelphia. There are always things to do at Franklin Square but this spring the Chinese culture will illuminate the park in ways that include more than just fun — understanding and learning of Chinese traditions. The money that the Festival raises will go into the operation and management of Franklin Square and its free events that are hosted year-round.

If you go:

Adult and Youth tickets: $17

Senior tickets: $12

Military tickets: $15