Spokane will begin hosting the annual 5-week Chinese Lantern Festival on September 16th. If you weren't able to go last year you should definitely go check out this unique cultural experience before it ends on October 30th.
Not only are the hand crafted lanterns breathtaking (especially at night), the festival also offers performances, and a special pop-up restaurant that showcases traditional cuisine from specific regions. You can make reservation online.
The shows are definitely a sight to see. There is a Face Changing performance, in honor of the 300-year tradition of the Sichuan opera, Chinese Dance, Hulusi Music and Tai Chi demonstrations, and Acrobatics.
After I went to the festival, I was curious about the rich tradition of the Chinese Lantern Festival. This version of the Lantern Festival in Spokane seems to borrow from a historically steeped tradition in China.
The Lantern Festival in China can be traced back for thousands of years. Traditionally, it is celebrated on the 15th day of the first Chinese Lunar Month (so this year March 5th) as the last day of the Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year.
Because China is such a big country, the way this festival is celebrated can vary significantly. But in general the festival is celebrated by lighting and displaying lanterns of all different types.
According to a Chinese Tourism site, the Chinese word for lantern (灯 dēng) in the Taiwanese dialect is pronounced similarly to (丁 dīng), which means 'a new-born baby boy'. Therefore lighting lanterns means illuminating the future and giving birth.
Pencil this in to your calendars—you might learn something new!
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