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Culture

A Magical Lantern Display Has Just Appeared In Chinatown

Alex Landon Alex Landon - Editor

Chinatown lantern

Chinatown is glowing bright with this lovely lantern installation.

Nowhere in London quite exemplifies light, colour, and joy quite like Chinatown – and yet, with the nights getting darker, Chinatown is getting even brighter this month, with the arrival of a series of colourful, illuminated lanterns. Over fifty giant, magic lanterns are now strung above a 100-metre stretch of Gerrard Street in Chinatown, with the eye-catching designs set to remain in place until November 15.

Chinatown lantern

The lanterns are here in celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the most important harvest event in Chinese culture. To celebrate, colourful lanterns in all forms are carried as beacons to bring prosperity and good fortune, although there’s another driving force behind this particular display.

Chinatown lantern

These lanterns are promoting Netflix‘s sweet new animated film Over The Moon, with scenes from the film (telling the story of Fei Fei and Bungee the Rabbit’s trip to the Moon in search of Chang’e the Moon Goddess, whose tale first inspired the Mid-Autumn Festival) depicted across the lanterns. 12,000 LED lights help bring the story to life, and all I can say is, if you’re a brand looking to drum up interest with a publicity stunt, you’d better make it at least as enchanting as this one.

Chinatown lantern

The lanterns were created by Liverpool‘s Lantern Company – who have also worked on displays for London’s mesmerising Lumiere festival, amongst other commissions – and will also be launched in Birmingham‘s Chinese quarter on Friday. London’s display will be illuminated from tonight (October 21), and will be in residence for a shade over three weeks (clearing out just before London’s Christmas light displays return in earnest).

Chinatown lantern

Wandering through the lovely lantern trail can be easily done whilst following all the coronavirus safety guidelines, and the London installation is helping to raise money for MediCinema – who build and run cinemas in hospitals so that patients too ill to leave can catch the latest releases – and the London Chinese Community Centre, which works to promote Chinese culture, arts, and identity and support our city’s Chinese community (in particular the disadvantaged and vulnerable).

Chinatown lantern

Pop into the restaurants and businesses around the lantern display, and you’ll be able to pick up limited edition treats inspired both by the film and the Mid-Autumn Festival. Tasty, magical, charitable – that’s quite the hat-trick!

Speaking of seasonal light displays, the Oxford Street Christmas lights are back next month with a heart warming new message.


Also published on Medium.