The Auckland Lantern festival is one of the cities most popular events. Each year Albert Park is lit up with a series of spectacular lanterns coupled with on stage performances of martial arts, dance and live music. Feast on delicious Chinese cuisine at the many food stalls surrounding the park. On the final night (Sunday) witness a spectacular fireworks demonstration.

The Lantern Festival has been part of Chinese New Year celebrations since the Han Dynasty (206 BC-221 AD). Held on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar, it marks the end of New Year festivities.

The Lantern Festival is also popularly referred to as the Chinese Valentine’s Day because in days of old it gave girls and boys a rare chance to go out in the evening without chaperones. Today Lantern Festivals are held each year in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan to mark the end of Chinese New Year celebrations.

Part of the lantern festival tradition involves a game to guess riddles attached to the lanterns. In the old days the riddles were drawn from the Chinese classics and so were mainly the preserve of the educated classes.

Dates: 13-16 February 2014

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