Ningbo's fish lantern event shines brightly in celebration of Lantern Festival

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated:  February 22, 2024 L M S


A four-meter-long fish lantern led the procession followed by fish lanterns of various shapes and sizes on the street in Qiangjiao town, Ningbo on Feb 21, creating a vibrant spectacle. [Photo/Ningbo Daily] 

In celebration of the Lantern Festival, which falls on Feb 24 this year, Qiangjiao town in Ningbo, Zhejiang province has been adorned with colorful decorations for the three-day Ninghai Bay Fish Lantern Festival, which kicked off in the town on Feb 21.

Fish lanterns, symbolizing prosperity and good fortune, are traditional handicrafts passed down through generations by coastal fishermen in Qiangjiao. It is said that in ancient times, villagers faced frequent disasters at sea. They crafted fish-shaped lanterns to pray for peace, prosperity, and a safe return from their voyages. Over centuries, the fish lantern procession has evolved into a unique folk activity, blending tradition with innovation.

"It's so much fun, filled with a strong sense of tradition and holiday spirit. We're thoroughly enjoying ourselves!" said a visitor surnamed Li, who came from Shanghai with his family "We wish for peace, health, and prosperity in the new year, and we also hope our country can become even stronger and more prosperous."

At the festival venue, intangible cultural heritage performances such as fish lantern dances, paper cutting, and fishing rope knotting also captivated many visitors, while delicious local seafood snacks were on offer. Villagers dressed in traditional attire pushed carts filled with festive goods, gifting visitors with fish lanterns, dragon lanterns, and colorful sweets.

You Tingting, a local fisherwoman skilled in crafting fish lanterns, worked day and night to create various types of fish lanterns for over a month before the Spring Festival.

"According to our local customs, the fish lantern festival doesn't end until the Lantern Festival. This festival is very important to us. It's not just a celebration, but also a ritual that embodies the fishermen's reverence for the ocean and their love for life. We want to share our town's story with more people," she said.