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Estonia’s first Chinese lantern festival begins, features 40-meter long dragon

Chinese lantern festival lights up Estonia
WATCH: Chinese lantern festival lights up Estonia

Bright panda bears, pagodas and a 40-meter long dragon lit up a park in the Estonian capital Tallinn, where daylight at this time of year is no longer than six hours.

The Chinese-themed festival, which began on Friday, is the first one of its kind in Estonia and will feature more than 25 installations using about 10,000 LED bulbs.

China’s ambassador to Estonia, Li Chao, and Tallinn’s deputy mayor, Aivar Riisalu, along with other officials, formally opened the festival.

A Chinese lantern festival lit up a park in the Estonian capital Tallinn, where daylight at this time of year is no longer than six hours.
A Chinese lantern festival lit up a park in the Estonian capital Tallinn, where daylight at this time of year is no longer than six hours. REUTERS

“Our winters and autumns are very dark,” said festival organizer Jaanus Jegorov.

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“That is why this lights festival, I think, fits very well in Estonia,” he added.

Using nearly 2 kilometers of painted silk cloth, the lanterns were painstakingly created by 16 Chinese craftsmen on site.

The Chinese-themed festival, which began on Dec. 6, 2019, is the first one of its kind in Estonia.
The Chinese-themed festival, which began on Dec. 6, 2019, is the first one of its kind in Estonia.

Materials were delivered in 11 large shipping containers, altogether totalling nearly 40 tonnes.

The idea for a lantern sculpture was first sketched and steel bars designed to form the sculpture’s frame, which was then fitted with LED bulbs and wrapped in a coloured silk cloth.

The vast and colourful displays honour old Chinese traditions, dating back more than 2000 years, to the Han Dynasty.

This Dec. 9, 2019 photo captures a 40-metre long dragon created for the Estonian Chinese Lantern Festival.
This Dec. 9, 2019 photo captures a 40-metre long dragon created for the Estonian Chinese Lantern Festival. REUTERS

“Lantern festival is kind of long history family event in China,” says Lori Luo, the festival’s manager.

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“People get together to celebrate brightness and happiness at holiday night,” she added.

Lanterns are a symbol of hope in China and traditionally the lantern festival is associated with Chinese New Year celebrations.

The festival runs until Jan. 12 and organizers are hoping to attract more than 100,000 people.