Chinese Lantern Festival 

During the holiday season one of the main attractions in the triangle is the Chinese Lantern Festival held in the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary. From November 18th- January 6th, the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival was open for all friends and family to explore and appreciate the gorgeous and scenic art of the festival.

The Chinese Lantern Festival is originally a Chinese tradition to celebrate the Lunar New Year and in a lot of Asian countries to honor deceased ancestors. There are so many activities for people to enjoy at this event. At these festivals people eat sweet rice balls, also known as tangyuan, light fireworks, and watch traditional dances like lion dances and dragon dances. 

The tradition of the lantern festival started around 2,000 years ago during the Han Dynasty which was placed during 202 BCE- 220 CE. The origin story of the lantern festival started as a Buddhist celebration that monks celebrate on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. At this time, this was celebrated in imperial areas and households while now we have a lot of well put together festivals for all people to enjoy. 

The lanterns at the festival are a form of decoration and can be used to show worship but the lanterns do have good symbolism. Lanterns symbolize people letting go of their past selves and getting into their new lives for the new year. It is a great way to see the end of the New Year for all cultures. 

A former Apex High student Reed Heath went to the festival this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. He said he really enjoyed just walking around and seeing all the cool exhibits and lights and thinks it’s something that people should take their time. When I asked him how he would describe the scenery, he said, “It feels like an outdoor art exhibit where the art is lit up. It is an extremely calming sight and lets you experience a piece of Chinese culture. Reed recommends that others should experience such a unique and special event since there is something for everyone to enjoy there. Be sure to check it out when it comes back next year!

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