Saturday, November 13, 2010

OzAsia - Lighting the Night With Lanterns Pt1

In an effort to clear some backlog, I've decided to throw up a post on an event that occured here in September this year: The OzAsia Moon Lantern Festival. This festival is a relatively new festival (this is in the 3-4th year now) that really does highlight the different asian cultures that exist in Adelaide. Actually there is a very strong Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Indonesia, Malaysian, Korean and Japanese communities within the city.

The festival has a range of different performances and family-based activities, but the one we try to make each year is the Moon Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the 8th month by the Chinese Lunar calendar... the night of the full moon. The evening normally starts with a number of free arts performances in Elder Park (in the city centre), and has a number of school lantern parades as the sun sets. This year, we arrived late and missed the school parades (that's a shame...zannen)... but we made it for the main "feature" lanterns.

The event has grown over the last couple of years, and now the Elder Park is brimming with people (with about 20,000 people braving the cool September evening). Definitely standing room only as the Lanterns appear.

The feature Lanterns are a series of papier mache-style large lanterns, carried on frames through the crowd and eventually ending up being placed around the Rotunda. Of course, Adelaide being the home of Wang-Wang and Funi has to have a special appearance from the Panda Lantern.

There's a real sense of community and fun that surrounds the movement of these large displays through the crowds. The kids, who had stayed up from participating in the school parade love the attraction. The floats are a mixture of creative...

...and more asian-inspired designs. 

But all are colourful, and they provide a lively sense of magic to the evening.
And at the end of the parade, the formal proceedings were concluded with fireworks (hanabi). Even though this was the official end, the lanterns were assembled around the Rotunda and everyone wanted a closer look. 

It was going to be a late night for L-kun, but he was still wide awake... however, not in a mood to stand still to be photographed. But the night wasn't quite over yet...

Japanese Lessons:
Moon - tsuki ()

Lantern (general) - tōrō (灯篭)
(note: these are not exactly the same style of lantern)

Fireworks - hanabi (花火)
(note hana = flower (花), bi = fire (火)... which is one of the pronunciations)

A shame - zannen (残念)

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