Budapest zoo hosts Chinese lantern festival

The Budapest zoo is hosting a Chinese lantern festival, which opened on Thursday evening and will be repeated nightly from Friday onwards until May 22, in cooperation with the Budapest Festival and Tourism Center.

Attending the opening, Budapest's deputy mayor Alexandra Szalay-Bobrovniczky praised the zoo for its ability to innovate, noting that this type of festival was the first to be seen in the region. She also pointed out that China was a special guest at the Budapest Spring Festival, of which the lantern display is a part.

Organized for the 36th time in 2016, the Budapest Spring Festival will be held between April 8 to 24 .

Guo Xiaoguang, the cultural attache to the Chinese embassy in Hungary, noted that the lantern was a highly popular art form used in many Chinese festivals. The particular lantern displays being presented in Budapest originated in southwest China's Sichuan province, he said.

The director of the Budapest zoo, Miklos Persanyi, said that the only European countries to precede Hungary with lantern festivals were the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.

Called Nights of the Dragon, and designed as an integral component of the Budapest Spring Festival, the goal of the display is to offer a glimpse of Chinese culture by presenting the lanterns in various configurations and designs. The lanterns literally take the shape the figures they portray in a plethora of color.

Persanyi told that a nearly 20 meter long classic dragon lantern configuration would be "guarding" the entrance to the zoo, while other lanterns would portray giant pandas, rhinoceros, the animals of the Chinese zodiac, and other spectacles, primarily of plants and animals, which would be set up along the zoo's walkways every evening, starting at 7 p.m. local time.

Persanyi explained that the lanterns were of dyed silk stretched onto wire frames and that 12 Chinese experts had participated in installing them.

The lanterns take the shape of the figures they portray, lighting up both contours and interiors. In all, hundreds of lanterns are being used to show a series of 45 different light-compositions including complete scenes.

"I like the lanterns very much, they are very imaginative," Flora Salacz, a 10-year-old Hungarian girl told Xinhua.

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