Lanterns lit up for Lunar New Year celebration at Yuyuan Garden


A centerpiece lantern and art installation is lit up at the Yuyuan Garden Malls on Tuesday night.

Shanghai's landmark Yuyuan Garden Malls launched its annual Chinese New Year celebration on Tuesday, with traditional lanterns and heritage skills, amid strict COVID-19 prevention measures.

Hundreds of colorful lanterns, a listed national cultural heritage, will come alive every evening from Tuesday, featuring various cartoon figures of the tiger to mark the Year of the Tiger.

Various traditional lanterns, such as the palace, flower and New Year painting lanterns, with New Year wishes to visitors, such as "healthy," "happy" and "wealthy," have been lit up across the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)-style buildings. The lights will stay on through February 18.

The malls, the dining and shopping facilities near the historic garden, originated from a prosperous market of the City God Temple some 140 years ago.

The major draw is a 9-meter-tall golden tiger standing on a mountain at the central plaza of the malls, accompanied by a group of small tigers who are dressed like an astronaut, Winter Olympic athletes or a commander on an aircraft carrier.

China's major achievements in recent years are also showcased in various lanterns, including the Fuxing (Rejuvenation) bullet train, 5G communications network and super computer.

Another major attraction has been set up at the iconic Zigzag Bridge, featuring lanterns about the 24 Solar Terms and traditional Chinese culture. An installation with light, mist and shadow will be played on the bridge every night to create an immersive experience for visitors.

A group of lanterns near the Zigzag Bridge highlights the traditional Jiangnan culture.

Many festive traditions in the Jiangnan, or regions in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, are incorporated in the lanterns. Small tigers, for instance, taste spring roll for lichun, or spring begins; watch peach flowers on jingzhe, or insects awaken; and make wine in chunfen, or spring equinox.

The Yuyuan Garden area is the origin of Shanghai's urban culture as well as the Jiangnan culture. The key installations on the bridge aim to recall memories about the traditions, organizers said.

It is a tradition in Shanghai's old town to walk through the Zigzag Bridge for the Lunar New Year. It is said the bridge can help get rid of bad luck, because ghosts and evil spirits can only walk straight.

Many of Shanghai's popular traditional skills are also being exhibited at the malls as part of the festive celebration.

Young chefs with the Shanghai Classic Hotel, known for its authentic Shanghai-style cuisine, for instance, will make kousansi, or braised "three shreds," a classic local dish requiring superior knife skills.

The 238-year-old Tonghanchun TCM pharmacy, is inviting visitors to taste the pear syrup herbal drink ligao lu, inspired by traditional pear syrup candy.

Visitors take photos on the iconic Zigzag Bridge on Tuesday.

Yuyuan Garden Malls boast more than 30 intangible cultural heritages, including two national-level skills – the Spring Festival Lantern Fair and cooking skills of the Shanghai Classic Hotel.

Other intangible heritages include the Nanxiang steamed buns, spiced beans, temple fair of the City God Temple and tea art of the Mid-lake Pavilion.

Some masters and artists will present traditional performances and teach the basic skills in a workshop class through February 18.

Visitors are also invited to listen to a traditional string and pipe music concert at the Beaufort Terrace, a stage for traditional Chinese operas and cuisine. The traditional Yueju and Kunqu operas will also be staged during the festival.

More people are expected to stay in the city during the Lunar New Year due to the recent resurgence of locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases.

Strict prevention measures are being implemented at the malls. Visitors are required to register their real name, show health code and receive temperature checks at the entrances to the malls as well as wear masks.

Epidemic period

Shanghai will remain in the epidemic period of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 during the Spring Festival, according to Dr Zhang Wenhong, head of Shanghai's COVID-19 treatment team and director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases.

It is vital for every citizen to maintain good health habits and personal protection during the festival, Zhang said, adding that such efforts will allow people to enjoy normal life in Shanghai during the period.

"The prevention of COVID-19 is not just dependent on medics, immune barrier and vaccines, but also on the health habits of every citizen," Zhang said at the unveiling of an educational book on health awareness and disease prevention and control.

The book will be distributed to some 8 million families to enhance public health capability, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Shanghai Health Commission.

If you go

Period of New Year celebration: Through February 18

Admission: Free (except five days during the Lantern Festival)

Public transport: Metro Line 14, No. 7 exit

COVID-19 prevention: Health code, masks and temperature checks required

Opening hour: 10am-10pm (Close at 5:30pm on January 31)

Visitors are required to wear masks at the Yuyuan Garden Malls.

Source: SHINE

Editor: Cai Wenjun

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