Our Arrival and Lantern Festival

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Feb 19, 2011

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Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's been a tremendous day.  There has been so much activity an we have been introduced to so many new people including our interns.  There are folks from the Foreign Office, Director, Madam Wu, and her right hand Sherrie Lan Qin.  Sherrie was to be our hostess for this evenings excursion to the Lantern Festival.  She has arranged for all of us, Interns, Doctors and visiting VIP's to get the royal treatment during our visit to the Lantern Festival at Lantern Park.

Zigong is the originator of the Chinese Lantern Festival - which has been copied in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. As one of the Historical and Cultural Cities of China, Zigong is called "Lantern Town in the South Kingdom". In recent years,  the lantern festival is a boon for tourism in the remote but tranquil city and generates large revenues for the local government. The pattern of the Lantern Show, a paradigm of China's festival economy, has been copied throughout China, which dilutes the uniqueness of Zigong's original version. As a measure to promote the city, the lantern show has already been brought to many cities in mainland China and even southeast Asia throughout of the years.

Since China is on a Lunar calendar - known in the west as the Chinese calendar, Spring Festival - which is also known as Chinese New Year will vary each year on a Gregorian calendar - but is roughly between January 16 and February 19 each year - depending on which of the Twelve earthly branches it is currently.

The Lantern Festival has been going on since the Tang Dynasty and gets more elaborate each year and is certainly a sight to behold.

As we arrive at the park, Sherrie Directs each of us though the turnstiles ahead of the regular crowd.  As we start our way in. we are enveloped in a tunnels of tree boughs illuminated with bright red blossoms in an arch fit for the emperor himself.  And at the end of the Tunnel is the focus of this lunar year, the Tiger.  Wow, is he a tiger or what.  Immense, and he roars and rolls his eyes.The rest of the evening is a blur.  There are so many colors and there are so many people following us arround.  We have our picture taken hundreds of times and everybody says hello and then walk on to where ever they are going.  It is a memorable way to start our stay in China.   TTFN
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