Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival Welcomes Consular Officials of 51 Countries in Shanghai to Showcase Oriental Intangible Cultural Heritage to the World
(7 February 2023, Shanghai) Recently, the Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival, which has been trending online and offline, has hosted overseas guests again. Consular officials of 51 countries in Shanghai visited the Yuyuan Garden. They have appreciated the lanterns, walked on the nine-turn bridge, solved lantern riddles and watched traditional Chinese operas. All kinds of mythical creatures and sacred plants based on the Chinese ancient mythology “The Classic of Mountains and Seas”, combining the trending New Year rabbit lantern, have brought foreign friends a full display of Chinese traditional culture featuring oriental lifestyle aesthetics.
The Chinese New Year tour was co-hosted by the Foreign Affairs Office of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government and the Shanghai People’s Government of Huangpu District, and organized by Fosun International and Yuyuan. Leaders of Huangpu District and Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office, more than 80 consular officials from 51 countries’ consulates general in Shanghai, Chairman of Fosun International Guo Guangchang and Co-CEO Xu Xiaoliang joined the tour.
At the Yuyuan Operatic Garden at Sea, consular officials from various countries in Shanghai gathered to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Yuyuan Garden. They watched the Chinese fan dance, Dunhuang Jujutsu and the Yue Opera: “The Butterfly Lovers – Bidding Farewell”, and appreciated the unique charm of Chinese traditional culture.
Guo Guangchang welcomed consular officials from various countries as they entered Yuyuan Garden. In China, appreciating lanterns and flowers symbolizes people’s yearning for a better life, said Guo. The Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival hopes to convey the beauty of culture and life, and that beauty is borderless. He gave the rabbit lanterns from Yuyuan Garden to the consular officials and hoped that they would visit Yuyuan Garden more often, “The Grand Yuyuan is a global fashion and cultural showground with the charm of oriental lifestyle aesthetics, and Fosun, as a global innovation-driven consumer group, hopes to present oriental aesthetics and wisdom to more overseas countries, further promoting economic development and cultural exchanges.”
As an important part of the event, consular officials from various countries in Shanghai gathered at the central square of Yuyuan Garden to light up the lanterns and take a group photo. Afterwards, the consular officials walked on the nine-turn bridge and admired various lanterns inspired by “The Classic of Mountains and Seas”, entered the “magic adventure of mountains and seas”, as if they were visiting a dreamland. All kinds of exotic flowers and plants from ancient mythology, fairies and beasts hovered on both sides of the nine-turn bridge, and the dazzling lights created a wonderful night scene, allowing the consular officials to immerse themselves in the profound heritage of Shanghai culture and the charm of oriental lifestyle aesthetics.
According to Istvan Kocsis Gao Yifan, Deputy Consul General of Switzerland in Shanghai, the architecture and the looks of the lanterns are very characteristic of traditional Chinese culture. The Cuban Consul General in Shanghai, Mileidy Aguirre Díaz, said, “It is a pleasure to participate in this event and to celebrate the Lantern Festival together in the Year of the Rabbit. The Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival offers a profound experience of classical Chinese culture.”
Consular officials from different countries in Shanghai have expressed their pleasure to meet in Yuyuan Garden to celebrate the New Year, enjoy the lanterns and have a great time with friends. The exchanges deepened mutual understanding and the festive atmosphere of the Lantern Festival brought people more positive expectations for future exchanges and cooperation. It is believed that the Year of the Rabbit will be a wonderful and busy year.
As a national intangible cultural heritage, the Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival has been held for the 28th time. This year’s Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival is inspired by the Chinese mythological masterpiece “The Classic of Mountains and Seas”. Powered by modern lighting, the creative team presented the fantasy world of “a magic adventure of mountains and seas” in downtown Shanghai with the displays of mythical creatures and immortals.
Digitalization is also a feature of this year’s Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival. The festival introduces multimedia, augmented reality and other technologies, regardless of online and offline, visitors can scan the QR code to visit the AR lantern fair, experience the Summoning of the Mountains and Seas, Travelling in the Mountains and Seas, Dreamland of the Mountains and Seas, Illustration of Mountains and Seas, Magic Adventure of Lantern Riddles, Magic Adventure of Rewards and other activities. The perfect integration of virtual and reality greatly adds to the pleasure of visiting the park.
With the additional elements of mythical creatures and sacred plants, this year’s Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival is particularly popular. Data shows that since the opening of the Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival, the total number of visitors received has exceeded 3 million. This year has seen an increasing share of young spectators, including Gen Z visitors who always enjoy sharing photos and videos on social media.
The Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival, which is highly popular in the country, has also become widely known even outside of China now. On 4 February, the Yuyuan’s rabbit lantern lighted up the Premier League match between Wolves and Liverpool. The Wolves, which have deep ties with China, held a Lantern Festival-themed event in conjunction with the Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival in Shanghai, and celebrated the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival together with more than 30,000 spectators on site.
On international social media, the event has been recommended by Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, as well as Chinese embassies in Italy, Malaysia, Austria, Indonesia, Philippines and Fiji, and Chinese consulate generals in San Francisco, Erbil and Belfast, and much commented as “amazing” and “inspiring”.
“The magic adventure of mountains and seas created for this year’s Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival is essentially an innovative interpretation of traditional Chinese culture and a vivid interpretation of the oriental lifestyle aesthetics. In addition to the promotion of the Yuyuan Garden Lantern Festival at home and abroad, the Yuyuan Lantern Festival is also a manifestation of young people’s cultural confidence and the continuous improvement of the country’s soft power”, said Xu Xiaoliang.