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It was the middle of February, and lantern festivals were taking place all across New Zealand. It’s an annual ritual that occurs at the first full moon after the Chinese New Year. And at the Christchurch Lantern Festival thousands of lamps were swaying in the breeze, lighting the way of the crowds who had come to join in the festivities.

The park was full of stalls where you could buy everything from Chinese food to delicately painted souvenirs. And the lanterns themselves were strung between stalls, in the trees, around the edge of the park and even along the river!

Christchurch Lantern Festival

Traditional red lanterns strung between the stalls at the Christchurch Lantern Festival

 

Lanterns at the Christchurch Lantern Festival

Every tree was decorated with lanterns of a different design

 

Swan shaped lanterns

Many trees seemed to have birds flying through them

 

Christchurch Lantern Festival

Around the edge of the park the lanterns formed complete tableaux. Here a woman in a kimono contemplates a kite

 

Christchurch Lantern Festival

Of course all the signs of the Chinese zodiac made an appearance

Dragon at the Christchurch Lantern Festival

A magnificent dragon shows its teeth

 

Christchurch Lantern Festival

The river was full of fish…

 

Water dragon

…and a many humped sea monster rose from the water

 

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