Thousands of Lanterns Light Up the Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival! Come Visit the Fantasy World of Lanterns and Appreciate the Beauty of Chinese Culture
Thousands of lanterns light up Yuyuan Garden, presenting a fantasy world of mountains and seas
The 2024 Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival officially opened in Shanghai today. Thousands of lanterns are illuminated to kick off the 29th Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival in the Year of the Dragon.
From The Classic of Mountains to The Classic of Seas, from land to ocean, from China to the world, this year’s Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival will continue the theme of "The Adventure of Mountains and Seas" and embark on a new chapter of "The Classic of Seas".
The “sea” embodies broad-mindedness and humanistic realm, echoing the values of a community with a shared future for mankind. It also demonstrates the righteous and courageous spirit of the Chinese nation and their open and inclusive attitude towards the world.
“The sea is the world of dragons, the clouds are the homeland of cranes.” The “sea” represents the world of dragons and Shanghai. It symbolizes the splendid sea of lights that enlightens the soul; the vast sea that connects the past and present; the boundless journey; the ocean of shared human destiny.
With Chinese New Year just around the corner, the mystery of the starry ocean is finally revealed. From 21 January to 29 February 2024, the 40-day enchanting celebration of oriental lifestyle aesthetics and culture will be opened to local visitors as well as tourists.
The Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival is now open. Are you ready? Come visit the fantasy world of lanterns and appreciate the beauty of Chinese culture!
A Joyful Chinese New Year in Shanghai
As the 2024 Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival began, the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism officially kicked off "A Joyful Chinese New Year in Shanghai", a series of activities celebrating Chinese New Year. Fang Shizhong, Secretary of the Party Leadership Group and Director of the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, and Ms. Xi Xiaoqin, a national-level intangible cultural heritage paper-cutting master, together unveiled the main visual of "A Joyful Chinese New Year in Shanghai". Mario Alonso, a Spanish pianist and ambassador of 2024 Shanghai International Tourism Image, Fang Shizhong, Director of the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, and Wang Yufeng, member of the Standing Committee and Minister of the Publicity Department of the CPC Huangpu District Committee, jointly lit the dragon lantern. The Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival and the Festival Dragons et Lanternes illuminated Shanghai, China and Paris, France on the same day, presenting the same theme to celebrate the Year of the Dragon and express Shanghai's enthusiasm and sincerity in inviting overseas visitors to experience Chinese culture in Shanghai.
Four gates and five major scenes to present a fantasy world of dragons and the deep sea
The 2024 Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival has four gates and five major scenes, creating a representation of the deep sea and river, presenting a fantasy world where the zodiac dragon meets marine animals and plants.
The four gates: Dragons roam the seas
"Open the gate to good fortune, let the dragons roam the seas." The divine dragon generals guarding the four gates of Yuyuan Garden will guide visitors through the underwater world into a fantasy world to bring good luck and prosperity.
Yanhai Pavilion is guarded by the candle dragon associated with the element of fire, representing the gate of wishes, symbolizing that the red dragon's wishes will come true and good luck is on its way.
The second gate is guarded by the coiled dragon associated with the element of water, representing the gate of purification, symbolizing the harmony of water and sky, bringing smooth sailing and good fortune.
The fifth gate is guarded by the winged dragon associated with the element of metal, representing the gate of blessings, symbolizing the auspicious dancing golden dragon.
The seventh gate is guarded by the azure dragon associated with the element of wood, representing the gate of soaring success, symbolizing the blessings and courage of the azure dragon. These four gates symbolize continuous good fortune, opening the gate to embark on a fantastic journey of the lantern festival.
Golden Square: Mirage
As you step into the Golden Square, a fantastic and magnificent deep-sea paradise comes into view. The mythical Mount Penglai hangs upside down, while the trees of precious gems stands tall in the center.
The "Three Immortal Fish of Penglai" symbolizing fortune, wealth, and longevity leap with grace in a way that resembles the movements of wandering dragons, embodying the concept of a "hidden dragon" and allowing visitors to immerse themselves in an ethereal experience.
Ninghui Road: Night of Fish and Dragon Dance
On Ninghui Road, the "Night of Fish and Dragon Dance" lantern installation continues to take the stage. The colorful schools of fish gathered to form a swirling dragon, moving among the eaves and arches, recreating the bustling scene of the Lantern Festival described in Xin Qiji's poem "Green Jade Table". It allows visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of culture, as well as the humanistic sentiment from a thousand years ago, nourishing the soul. Perhaps when you look back, the one in your heart is waiting for you in the flickering lights.
Central Plaza: Flying dragon leaps over the sea
In the Year of the Dragon, the central plaza remains the focal point, with the divine dragon reigning and displaying its majestic presence. A giant yellow dragon soars into the sky, depicting a flying dragon leaping over the sea, embracing a blue sphere lifted by the waves, guarding the growth of all things. As the waves roll in, dragons from the Shang, Qin, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, as well as the Sanxingdui civilization, dance together in a leap.
On the Huabao Tower, dragons are swimming, as if water coming from Yangtze River and Yellow River has gathered here to create the dazzling mountains and seas and celebrate the glorious age of dragons. When the needle of the huge compass floating on the sea turns, the stars move, and the lighting ceremony begins. Thousands of lanterns are illuminated at the Yuyuan Garden.
Nine-turn bridge: Waves roll gracefully and galaxy sparkles
A magical aquatic world is presented in the Nine-turn bridge area with schools of fish swimming, jellyfish floating, coral glowing, and waves rolling. Wandering in the area feels like swimming in a starry ocean, with waves rolling gracefully and galaxy sparkling.
At the entrance of the Nine-turn bridge, the fish-dragon princess sways gracefully, guiding visitors into a fantastical and healing deep sea world. The dragon shark guides marine companions joyfully swimming towards the direction of longma. Together with the colorful stony corals and mother of pearls, they create an adorable scene filled with sparkling brilliance and auspiciousness.
On the lake in the center of the Nine-turn bridge, the valiant longma prince emerges from the water and soars into the sky. The "image of the river" flashes in the light and shadow, and the water splashes into a sky full of stars, forming a starry ocean. Around the longma, jumping fish leap among the sea anemones, the oyster fish wishes to open the oysters to feast, the money fish spits out strings of gold coins, the flying fish prepares itself to cross the "dragon gate" with a leaping posture; the armored fish pouts its lips, intending to have an “intimate encounter” with tourists. The sea is full of sentient beings, in various shapes and forms, full of fun!
At the end of the Nine-turn bridge, the galaxy stretches across the sky, and the stars shine brightly. The shimmering spirit dragon is friendly and approachable. Sometimes it hovers at the top of the clouds, and suddenly descends from the sky, allowing visitors to see the vast and boundless sky and experience the magnificent and mysterious wonders of the deep sea.
Yuyuan Old Street: In Search of Dragons and Pursuit of Dreams
Yuyuan Old Street is adorned with dragon-shaped palace lanterns. With the theme of "In Search of Dragons and Pursuit of Dreams", the lantern installation presents a lantern show of the history of dragons. Cloud dragons hang high in the corridors of the second floor of the Yuyuan Old Street, embellishing the pavilions and towers. The giant rotating lantern conveys good luck and blessings in constant motion.
Cross-sector collaborations to innovatively present Chinese culture
This year, Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival collaborates with the Himalayas, the Suzhou Silk Museum and other IPs to present this traditional folk cultural event that has been passed down through the ages through innovative lantern installations of different forms.
The lantern viewing experience ends at Yuyuan Old Street. This year’s lantern festival collaborated with the Suzhou Silk Museum to create the “In Search of Dragons and Pursuit of Dreams” themed block, showcasing the evolution of dragons in Chinese culture over five thousand years.
The lanterns with dragon design from different eras are lit, resembling a lantern show that showcases the dragon culture. The stairs of the Yuyuan Old Street features a “Dragon Secret Realm”. Inspired by dragon designs found on the cultural relics in the Suzhou Silk Museum, the stairs have dragon-shaped steps symbolizing continuous prosperity. The second-floor corridor features cloud dragon lantern installations inspired by the classic motifs found on cloud dragon design robes in the Suzhou Silk Museum, symbolizing the vision of pursuing and realizing dreams. After scanning the AR code at the entrance, a hidden intangible cultural heritage 'embroidered dragon' will appear and interact with the cloud dragon.
The Wenchang Street has become a delightful place where sound meets. The Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival, in collaboration with the Himalayas, presents a “Sound Adventure”, with giant dragon horn-shaped headphones. Inspired by ancient books and scrolls, the stories of the Classic of Mountains and Seas are vividly narrated in the area. While wandering through, visitors can immerse themselves in a realm of extraordinary sounds and imagine the charm of dragons. The corner of Wenchang Street features a pop-up audio bookstore called “The Adventure of Mountains and Seas”, offering cultural and creative books, headphones, a sound post office, and audio interpretation of Chinese mythologies such as the Classic of Mountains and Seas. The pop-up audio bookstore provides visitors with a quiet space to experience the cultural heritage amidst the hustle and bustle.
The metaverse lantern festivalis held simultaneously
In collaboration with Alipay, this year’s Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival creates a unique Metaverse lantern festival through the "AR interactive + digital human" technology. Embarking on a virtual journey through mountains and seas is no longer a dream.
Tens of thousands of users from all over the country will transcend physical space to collectively light up auspicious lanterns virtually. In ancient times, there were customs such as “Morning bell and evening drum, all is calm and peaceful” and “Work at sunrise, rest at sunset”. The lantern lighting ceremony represents a tribute and continuation of the traditional concept of “gratitude for nature and reverence for time”. Nowadays, it still plays an important part of the traditional festival, conveying the meaning of dispelling misfortune and the beginning of a new journey.
From 15 January to 25 February 2024, open the Alipay app and search “Lighting Yuyuan Garden’s Dragon Lanterns” to take part in the Yuyuan Garden digital lantern lighting event, with a chance to win Fosun Chinese New Year Koi gift set encompassing food & beverage, entertainment, health, and wealth. The winners will be announced on 25 February. Stay tuned!
Visitors can scan the AR codes at specific locations of the Yuyuan Garden to experience the combination of virtual and real lantern festival; for those unable to visit in person, the Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival also provides an AR live stream, allowing everyone to enjoy the “Adventure of Mountains and Seas” from the comfort of their homes.
The Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival teamed up with Ant Forest to launch the “Carbon Neutral Lantern Festival” with modern technology, injecting environmental consciousness into the traditional lantern lighting ceremony, showcasing the charm of cultural heritage and innovation. This lantern festival not only promotes traditional culture but also perfectly combines the digital era with traditional rituals.
In addition, the Grand Yuyuan offers a variety of interactive activities that enrich the lantern viewing experience. Yuyuan Tourist Mart presents “Auspicious Dragon Chinese New Year Bazaar”, “Lantern Festival Riddles” and other events to offer delightful festive experiences. The Bund Finance Center (BFC) presents the “LONGTIME Fantasy World”, where a giant golden and red divine dragon is on display, and other events such as the BFC Fengjing Year of the Dragon Market to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Continuing cultural traditions and enlightening souls with lanterns,
every edition of the Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival showcases the charm of oriental aesthetics and the power of cultural confidence to the world.
The splendid mountains and seas welcomes Chinese New Year, and the shining dragons create a magnificent brilliance.
The Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival began on 21 January 2024.
Come visit the fantasy world of lanterns and appreciate the beauty of Chinese culture!
To ensure a safe and comfortable lantern viewing experience for our guests, the 2024 Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival will implement timed ticket admission from 10 February (the first day of the Lunar New Year) to 25 February (the 16th day of the Lunar New Year).
Opening hours and admission
From 10 to 16 February 2024, 10:00-22:00;
from 17 to 21 February 2024, 14:00-22:00;
from 22 to 25 February 2024, 10:00-22:00.
Tickets: RMB80 per adult, RMB50 per child.
Official online ticketing platforms
Piaoxingqiu and More Tickets mini program and app.
Shanghai Yuyuan Tourism Mart (Group) Co., Ltd.
Huangpu District Culture and Tourism Bureau
Original Chinese text: Ding Wenjun
Layout: Ding Wenjun and Huang Jialu
Video: Yuyuan Cultural and Commercial
(Unauthorized reproduction or use of the text, images, and videos is prohibited)