16 March ’13
For the last few years the Palmerston Festival of Cultures has kicked off with a community Lantern Parade. We went as a family a couple of years ago – I don’t know why we didn’t attend last year, we must have had something else on that weekend.
There are many different beliefs about the origin of lantern festivals, however, it is likely to have had something to do with celebrating and cultivating positive relationships between people, families, nature and the higher beings that were believed to be responsible for bringing or returning the light each year.
Billy (with a bit of persuasion – it’s hard to prize him away from a ‘screen’ sometimes) came with me to check out this year’s parade.
It’s the Chinese Year of the Snake, so the parade was lead by a fabulous snake lantern named Gerald. Not a very Chinese name, but I guess he is a Kiwi snake.
Amongst the community lanterns that followed Gerald were the zodiac lanterns from the previous years. I’d love to know where these fabulous paper creations are stored as they await their yearly outing.
After the parade was over we spent some time listening to the band Klezmer Rebs playing on the events lawn stage. Rollicking, toe-tapping gypsy music had the kids up dancing. We stayed til they finished, fantastic!
Have you been involved in a Lantern Parade? What great live bands have you seen lately?
EDIT – I’ve just found the organisation responsible for the lanterns. REACT specialize in Giant Puppet making, large scale constructions, lanterns, costumes and masks. They’ve been supporting the Palmerston North lantern parade from the start. Thanks for answering my question, Jim.