Auckland’s Lantern Festival

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Lanterns framed by the Auckland skyline

After our loop in the Northland Peninsula, we’re back in Auckland to see the city’s annual lantern festival. What began nearly twenty years ago as a small celebration with lanterns borrowed from cities in China is now a festival with hundreds of handmade lanterns and hundreds-of-thousands of attendees a year. And though the Lantern Festival is a celebration of Chinese cultural heritage (it’s part of our celebrations for the Lunar New Year), people of all races and ethnicities have turned out for the event. Here are our best shots from the festival:

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Lanterns depicting the moon goddess Chang’e and the white rabbits that live with her. It’s still daytime, so the full beauty of the lanterns remains hidden.
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Lanterns depicting an old fisherman with his net.
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A lantern dedicated to Hong Kong (and mostly focused on food). Having now been to Hong Kong, I can say this is 100% accurately delicious.
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A bat latnern in a tree. Bats are considered good fortune because the words for “bat” and “luck” are homophones in Chinese.
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A boy shakes hands with a rooster mascot. 2017 is the year of the rooster in the lunar zodiac.
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More people gather to admire the lanterns (and eat amazing street food). As the sun sets, the lanterns reveal their beauty.
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A latnern of a boy and horse against the darkening Auckland sky.
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Red lanterns hanging from the trees.
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Twin dragon lanterns hover over a fountain. After dark, the full beauty of the lanterns appears.

 

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In this lantern, woman makes hand-pulled noodles from dough.
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A lantern version of a Chinese opera character.
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People take photos inside of a lantern shaped like a house. Though there were far more intricate lanterns at the festival, this lantern was one of the most popular.

That’s all from us for now, but tomorrow we head out from Auckland again, this time southward to see the rest of the North Island.