Bustling lantern festival unleashes consumption vitality in Shanghai
With the Chinese Lunar New Year just around the corner, Shanghai's Yuyuan Garden has again donned a festive look, dressed in hundreds of delicate, illuminated lanterns.
The annual lantern festival, or lantern fair, at Yuyuan Garden, one of China's national intangible cultural heritages, is a key cultural highlight in Shanghai during the Spring Festival celebration.
This year's lantern fair will last 52 days until February 15, longer than the previous editions. It has become a main attraction to usher in the Year of the Rabbit.
The theme "Adventure of Mountains and Seas" was inspired by the ancient literature "Shan Hai Jing" (Classic of Mountains and Seas).
Embellishments on the lanterns feature mythical creatures from the book, such as dragon, phoenix and deer. These true-to-life presentations have created a fairyland-like atmosphere. Also, visitors can use their mobile phones to interact with lanterns embedded with AR.
As a fan of the event, Ms Li comes to admire the installation every year. She was amazed by how technologies have transformed the touring experience of this latest edition.
"This year's lantern fair is unparalleled. I really enjoyed walking around the garden. I could feel the regained vitality, which came after the country optimized epidemic response," said Li.
"I love the view, especially at night. Honestly, I didn't expect such a big crowd," said another visitor, who came to the lantern show for the first time this year.
The bustling scene follows China's recent adjustment in COVID response management. A slew of measures have also been adopted to boost consumption. The recent New Year holiday witnessed a strong recovery in tourism, catering and retail sales.
"Since the opening of the lantern festival, we've noticed a strong growth in tourist numbers. Especially during the just-concluded three-day New Year holiday, when we received very positive feedback," said Sang Yi, deputy director of public relations at Yuyuan Garden.
"We are very much looking forward to the recovery of overall consumption this year," Sang added.
Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager of Spring Tour Travel Agency, also witnessed a substantial rise in travel during the New Year holiday.
"For the upcoming Spring Festival, we've already seen a 30-percent year-on-year increase in orders so far," Zhou said.