Lawrence to light up

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YVONNE O’HARA
yvonne.ohara@alliedpress.co.nz

In a nod to its Chinese history, Lawrence is to host a lantern festival on Friday night.

Lawrence resident Anne Cheng, who recently moved to the area from Auckland, said the festival, called the Lantern Festival or Moon Festival, was the second-most important festival in the Chinese cultural calendar.

She said the festival was traditionally held during the autumn in the northern hemisphere, on the 15th day (full moon) of the eighth moon in the lunar calendar, although it is in spring in the southern hemisphere.

“This year, that happens on October 4, so we will have a lantern parade along the main street on October 6, starting about 7.30pm,” Miss Cheng said.

The parade will move down the main street to the village green and finish at Ross Place.

“I thought it would be nice to celebrate the festival as a nod to the history of Lawrence.

“The lantern festival is a very old traditional Chinese celebration.

“It is usually when the harvest moon is the roundest and brightest.

“It is a time for family reunions and family members come together and have a celebration.

“It very much has a family focus.”

After the parade, the lanterns will be displayed in businesses until Labour Weekend and will be lit at night.

Lawrence resident Kirsty Garner designed the lanterns and will lead the parade. Jenny Bird held free lantern-making workshops.

The event is funded by the Clutha District Creative Communities Scheme, the Lawrence Athenaeum and Mining Institute and the Tuapeka-Lawrence Community Company.

Miss Cheng hopes the festival will become a regular event and grow in the future.

“This is a trial and there has been so much interest and support from everyone I’ve spoken to,” she said.