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When lanterns light up Shanghai
Updated: 2019-02-14 07:50:14
( China Daily )

People throng to Yu Garden in Shanghai for a lantern show during Lunar New Year. Last year's show in the garden attracted more than 5 million visitors. [PHOTO/GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY]

This year, the festival focuses on the growth and achievements of the city, Cao Chen reports.

This year's lantern show at Yu Garden, one of the most renowned tourist sites in Shanghai, has a theme that revolves around family, city and country.

Featuring 31 large decorative lanterns and thousands of lamps, the event will run for 33 days through Feb 22. Last year's show attracted more than 5 million visitors.

"Family, city and country are three major topics for the lantern show," says Xu Chong, executive manager of the branding and marketing department for Yuyuan Inc.

"Many lanterns are designed to be cute and stylish or decorated like cartoon characters to draw the younger generation to the traditional show."

People throng to Yu Garden in Shanghai for a lantern show during Lunar New Year. Last year's show in the garden attracted more than 5 million visitors. [PHOTO/GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY]

The centerpiece of the show this year is a 9-meter-high lantern in the shape of a pig-2019 is the Year of the Pig according to the Chinese zodiac.

The design features the pig as the Chinese god of wealth holding a gold ingot, or jinyuanbao, a type of currency used in imperial China, while surrounded by a happy human family, which symbolizes harmony and good fortune.

Lanterns depicting China's development over the decades are also showcased as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Also found in Yu Garden is a group of lanterns arranged to form a 40-meter-long set illustrating Shanghai's growth during the 40 years of reform and opening-up.

On the wall of Songyun Building, lanterns are shaped like stamps that are decorated with items reflecting the four brands of the city-services, manufacturing, shopping and culture-such as the C919 China-developed passenger jet, new energy vehicles and the Lujiazui financial hub.

Visitors admire the lanterns at Yu Garden. [PHOTO/GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY]

"We have also prepared a large heart-shaped lantern as Valentine's Day happens to take place during the show this year. There, couples can ride bikes together to generate electricity that will light up the lantern," says Xu.

In addition, a pop-up store called Peppa Pig Celebrates Spring Festival has been opened on the first floor of Tianyu Tower, located in the garden, and will run until March 31. Here, parents and children can play indoor games and purchase gifts based on the popular animated character.

Sui Ping, a Shanghai resident, says that she is happy to learn about the major development milestones in China and Shanghai through the show.

"Being a part of the show, solving riddles and eating traditional Shanghai cuisine with family and friends make it a happy affair," she says.

A sign for the lantern festival hangs over Yuyuan Tourist Mart. This is the 25th time that Yu Garden is hosting the lantern show. [PHOTO/GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY]

Admission to the show is free except for the night of the Lantern Festival and the period spanning Feb 15-19. During these times, entrance fees will range from 30 to 80 yuan ($4.4 to $11.8).

This year, for the first time, tickets can be bought online. As well as being able to purchase passes at the ticket office near the entrance to the park, tourists can buy discounted tickets to the show on the official website of online travel agency, Ctrip, as well as through its app. Customers will then be issued with QR codes that can be used at the entrance to the show.

Yu Garden has also rolled out crowd control measures to cope with the expected influx of visitors on the day of the Lantern Festival. Directional signs and queue barriers will be put up to prevent overcrowding and ensure a smooth flow of traffic.

Contact the writer at caochen@chinadaily.com.cn

Lanterns illustrate Shanghai's growth after the founding of the People's Republic of China 70 years ago. [PHOTO/GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY]

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