The much-loved Auckland Lantern Festival, the largest cultural festival of New Zealand, will take place from February 14 to February 17. Over 800 handmade lanterns will shine their light in and around the trees and pathways of the Auckland Domain to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The organisers are planning to hang traditional red lanterns. The elaborate scenes, the array of colors and intricate paper designs will be a sight to behold.
ABOUT THE AUCKLAND LANTERN FESTIVAL
The festival also features an extensive programme of local and international Chinese acts. There will also be over 100 food stalls, art and craft displays and demonstrations, karaoke, and roaming performers.
New features this year include the ‘Traveller’s Avenue.’ This was created to recognise the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism. The organisers are also displaying an impressive lantern inspired by a China Southern Airline airplane in the Guangzhou skyline to honour Auckland’s 30th anniversary with Guangzhou as its sister city.
WELCOMING THE YEAR OF THE PIG
To pay tribute to the Year of the Pig, which is the last animal on the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, they will also be displaying a new spectacular pig lantern. Also, on the Harbour Bridge, Vector Lights will present an animation show inspired by the Year of the Pig.
The Auckland Lantern Festival was created by the Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED). It is important for improving Auckland’s economy.
Stuart Turner, Head of Major Events at ATEED, says the festival is a much-awaited cultural highlight in Auckland.
“Auckland Lantern Festival’s 20-year reign really does speak volumes. Its enormous popularity has dictated the festival duration, venue changes, and range of performances and attractions over the years.
“There’s something for everyone at this festival. There will be unique performances, music, food and the beautiful displays. But it’s the cultural experience that draws people in. This is why ATEED is proud to support events that showcase and celebrate Auckland’s diverse people and cultures.”
200,000 people are expected to attend the four-day event. So organisers are encouraging festival goers to plan their visit in advance.
DETAILS OF THE FESTIVAL
Saturday evening is usually the busiest night of the event.
Thursday evening is the Lantern Appreciation Evening. On this evening, the lanterns are lit for viewing. However, there will be no food stalls operating. So people attending on this night are encouraged to eat out prior to arrival. Both Parnell and Newmarket have excellent Chinese restaurants. So festival goers can keep in theme with Chinese New Year.
Coincidentally, the Auckland Lantern Festival falls on Valentine’s Day in 2019. So a stroll to see the beautiful handmade lanterns is a great way to spend Valentine’s Day.