Soon after the Christmas lights were removed from Stroget, the main shopping street in Copenhagen, Denmark, the night there was aglow again on Jan 20 with hundreds of lanterns hanging above the street.
These colorful lanterns of varied shapes are characterized by traditional Chinese patterns such as Peking Opera masks.
And a large dog-shaped lantern stands on the street, with a big smile on its face and its paws holding a Spring Festival scroll that reads “Wishing you all the best” in Chinese.
The lantern fair called “Lighten Copenhagen” is being held by China’s embassy in Denmark as a part of the 2018 Chinese New Year celebrations to usher in the Year of the Dog.
During the fair, people can also watch lion dance performances and paint lanterns in a pop-up workshop.
Liu Dong, the cultural counselor of the embassy, says the fair is a win-win project for China and Denmark.
“Now, it gets dark by 4 pm in Denmark,” says Liu. “So, the light of the lanterns warm up the long nights, and decorate the longest shopping street in Europe.”
He says the event is a good opportunity to spark Danish interest in Chinese lanterns and Chinese culture, and get overseas Chinese immersed in the atmosphere of the upcoming Spring Festival in their homeland.
“We want to make use of various resources to further develop China’s relationship with Denmark, and let the world know more about China through cultural exchanges,” says Liu.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Denmark. In addition to the lantern show that ends on Monday, a series of recreational activities and celebrations will take place across Denmark.
All the lanterns on show have been made by designers and craftsmen from Zigong Haitian Culture Co in Zigong, Sichuan province.
According to Zeng Zheng, the director of the international business department of the company, it took the company nearly a month to make all the lanterns, and another month to ship them to Copenhagen.
Meanwhile, the company plans to hold global lantern exhibitions in Los Angeles, Sydney, Auckland, Cairo and five other cities during Spring Festival.
The lanterns for the upcoming events have been designed to keep the respective cities in mind.
For instance, the dog-shaped lantern displayed in Sydney will be placed near a Sydney Opera House-shaped lantern.
Luo Rui, deputy general manager of Zigong Haitian Culture Co, says the exhibitions are oriented toward the mainstream societies of the foreign countries, to boost the influence of China’s intangible cultural heritage.
The company is seeking to work with Chinese companies, such as liquor suppliers and smartphone producers.
“This is the first year for our global lantern tour. But we intend to develop it into a platform for typical Chinese brands,” says Luo.