The dragon that I saw from afar while driving on Vine Street this time last year is back in Philly for a second year and this time I made a point to see it up close! The Chinese Lantern Festival, along with the 200-foot Chinese dragon, returned to Franklin Square for another display of amazing colors and shapes that became more magical as daylight dimmed into nighttime.
The Chinese Lantern Festival, with a history of 2000+ years, traditionally marks the last day of the lunar New Year celebration. All types of lanterns – mostly in the traditional Chinese images of fruits, flowers, birds, animals – are lit throughout the streets to celebrate the “declining darkness of winter” and the arrival of Spring. The dragon is an ever-present symbol in many cultural celebrations because the Chinese believe that they are descendants of this mythical creature. The dragon also represents prosperity, good luck, and good fortune.
Lucky for those who went to see the Chinese Lantern Festival last year, all new handcrafted lanterns by artisans from China make this year’s festival a new experience as well.