Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chinese Lantern Festival Dallas

While Texas is typically know for it's mild winters, it has been surprisingly cold for the past few weeks and weekends. Suzi bought us tickets to the Chinese Lantern Festival in Dallas' Fair Park for Christmas, and we'd been waiting to find a nice mild evening to take the kids to see the lights. But as time past and the mercury continued to dip lower on the thermometer, we decided to suck it up and brave the cold conditions.

Surprisingly, as bundled up and cold as we were, there were several people walking around Fair Park in fishnet stockings, sherpa leg warmers, and underwear which barely covered what they are intended to cover. Apparently tonight was Lights All Night- a DJ Dance Concert. And apparently the dress code is - barely dressed. Maybe I'm just getting old... or being too much of a parent... I dunno. However, it was easy to figure out who was going to the concert and who was going to the Chinese Lantern Festival.

They had 22 set displays of lanterns. Most of them seemed to be made of thin silk fabric (or pantyhose) stretched around a wire frame and lights within. It was pretty amazing to see the details the artists put into these displays.

In addition to just displaying Chinese inspired works, they also provided information behind their works. Such as this Peach Orchard.

According to this sign they created an orchard of 800 peaches and Chinese legend tells that this kind of peach only bares fruit once in 3,000 years and that if you eat such a peach you will live a very long life of nearly 1,000 years.

Or the Qilin. Beings with the head of a dragon but body of a tiger that appear only when wise leaders rule. Here 4 Qilin face a giant pearl which is a symbol of blessings top people. These were created from thousands of medicine bottles filled with colored liquid.

They also had other things made from unique materials like this dragon. This dragon is 330 feet long and made entirely of 15,000 bowls, spoons, and wine cups bound together by hand. If you can get close you can see the flatware.

Probably the most noted lantern at the festival is the 50 foot Chamber of the Fairies.This Chamber is where the spirits come to observe the world and bring happiness and peace.

Not to be confused with the Temple of Heaven, which is also at the Festival and considerably shorter. This temple is a replica of the original one located in Beijing (1/3rd of the original's size). The original temple is where the Emperor would pray annually for good harvest. The blue roof tiles represent heaven.

The lake/pond in Fair Park was covered with tons of lotus flowers, frogs, and ducks. The Lotus flower is a flower of nobility. And 3 of the large lotus flowers on display were actually flown in via helicopter.

While most things were Chinese or Oriental in nature and inspiration... there were a few things that didn't quite make you think of China. Godzilla... yes. T-Rex... no.

Animated Ants? Makes me think of Pixar.

Statue of Liberty... um... New York, New York, USA, North America and gift from France, Europe.


Longhorn Cattle?

I'm sure they managed to link them together somehow, but I was too busy trying to keep my keister warm to really pay attention to some of the signs. Either way, it was amazing to see the creativity these artists use to assemble different scenes- 22 to be exact. And I enjoyed the little I did learn when I did actually pause to read the signs.

It turned out to be a good gift. The kids got to stay up late and see lights, I got an adventure and an education in Oriental lore, and Brian got unexpected scenery provided by the concert. Win/win.

For more information on the Chinese Lantern Festival click HERE.

To coordinate your trip with a scantily clad music event... find someone else to do that for you.

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