The lantern show

Qinhuai lantern show is attributed to the development of Qinhuai colorful lantern art which can be traced back to the Six Dynasties. In order to pray for auspiciousness and beauty, residents along the Qinhuai River try to to pursue life and the beauty of art through such forms as embroidering lanterns, hanging up lanterns, admiring lanterns and playing with lanterns, etc. In the period of the Southern Dynasties, colorful lanterns, originally seen in the imperial palaces, began to beome popular among common folks. On such traditional festivals as every Lantern Festival, there would be the scene of “Lantern lights all over the city”, deserving the best of its kind across the country at that time. He Zhu, a noted poet of the Northern Song Dynasty wrote by the Qinhuai River: “The new moon can be seen from the tower with lantern lights shining over two bridges”. As Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming dynasty, energetically advocated Lantern Festival, Qinhuai lantern show reached its prime in China, with all families in southern Nanjing strolling on bridges and all local residents admiring lanterns, leading to the reputation of “Qinhuai colorful lanterns are famous all over China”. At that time, the imperial court extended the duration of Lantern Festival to ten days, making it the longest festival in the history of our country, i.e. lanterns are shown on the eighth day and gone on the eighteenth day of the first month according to Chinese lunar calendar. Since the reform and open-up, the municipal and district governments have been energetically carrying forward excellent traditional culture, making Fuzimiao area a prosperous scene and cultural space featured by the lantern market, lantern sceneries and lantern show. From the eve of the Spring Festival to the eighteenth day of the first month according to Chinese lunar calendar every year, 200000 Chinese and foreign tourists come to Fuzimiao area to admire and buy lanterns. As remarked by local residents in Nanjing: “Spring Festival cannot be regarded as a pleasing one if one fails to admire lanterns in Fuzimiao”. Therefore, Fuzimiao lantern show has become a magnificent cultural feast during Spring Festival in Nanjing and a special card for local culture. In the past, lanterns were in the forms of flowers, birds, worms and fish made of gelatin, or in the shapes of human figures and wall-lanterns, or extremely ingenious horse-running lanterns. The most common and popular ones were those in the forms of rabbits, toads, dragon-flies, air-planes and lotus-flowers, etc.


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