Chinese Lantern Festivals can be traced all the way back to 200 B.C.E., during the reign of the Han Dynasty. Indianapolis is hosting their first Chinese Lantern Festival EVER in 2017 and it's going on from now until January 7th at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
The artists that created and designed the lanterns featured in the Indiana Chinese Lantern festival are from Zigong, Sichuan in China. Not only were there over hundreds of lanterns illuminating the area, there were also periodic performances to showcase some of the traditional Chinese culture.
I was most amazed by the Contortionist who was dressed as a panda during his time on stage. In my opinion, the music was just as pleasing to listen to as all of the performances were to watch.
When the dancers took the floor, their joy (despite the freezing temperatures) couldn't have gone unnoticed. As I attempted to encourage and motivate them from my seat, they gestured for me to come and dance with them.. but clearly I couldn't keep up. The crowd seemed to enjoy my brief period of dancing.
Once all of the performances were over, I was able to get a picture with everyone that I saw on stage. Even though there was a HUGE language barrier between us, smiles and laughter can always fill a conversation.
After getting to meet and interact with the stars of the evening, I continued to wander through the rest of the festival, where I was greeted by lanterns representing each of the 12 Chinese Zodiac signs. Do you know what yours is?
Sometimes, we have to go out into the world to truly learn and appreciate all of the culture that there is to offer, and other times, we are lucky enough to have some of that culture come to us. The world is all around us. Go see it.
If you're interested in learning more about the Indiana Chinese Lantern Festival, click here.