Ancient Chinese traditions will mingle with contemporary folk-rock, acrobatics and Kung Fu Tea- pouring as the 2013 Auckland and Christchurch Lantern Festivals welcome in the Year of the Snake, according to Asia New Zealand Foundation Tuesday.
Hundreds of vibrantly colored lanterns will light up Auckland's Albert Park on Feb. 22-24 next year and Christchurch's Hagley Park North on March 2-3 for the festivals, which take place on consecutive weekends.
About 250,000 people turned up to Auckland's Lantern Festival last year and more than 60,000 joined the Christchurch celebrations, said Asia New Zealand Foundation.
Each year the festivals feature elaborate new lanterns created for New Zealand in Zigong, in the Chinese province of Sichuan. The centre-piece of the 2013 festivals will be a new lantern celebrating the Year of the Snake.
The new lanterns will join hundreds of favorites from previous festivals, including zodiac animals, symbols of good luck (such as peonies, ducks and goldfish), and complex scenes that depict life in China.
International performers include the female ensemble Beauty and Melody, from the western province of Sichuan. The group plays traditional instruments such as bamboo flutes, pipa (lutes) and unique percussion instruments.
Festival-goers with more contemporary tastes will be catered for by folk-rock band Omnipotent Youth Society, from the city of Shijiazhuang in Hebei province. The established band has won a raft of awards, including Band of the Year at the Chinese Music Media Awards.
Other international acts will include acrobats from Shanghai and a Kung Fu Tea performer.
The Lantern Festival is traditionally held on the 15th day of the Chinese Lunar New Year.