Beijing's Temple of Heaven
Until 14 February, Rotterdam's Het Park (also known as the Euromast Park) will play host to China Light, a three-month celebration of light held for the first time in the Dutch city. Over a period of four weeks, a team of about 40 Chinese artists constructed more than 35 exhibits based on Chinese folklore and mythology. Illuminated each afternoon at dusk, the event is the biggest Chinese lantern festival held in Europe.
A visitor walks through the Funky Monkey gate towards the Temple of Heaven. The gate is a playful nod to China's traditional paifang ceremonial arches, while the monkey is believed to ward off bad spirits. Chinese light festivals date back as far as the 6th Century in China, although they gained momentum in the 15th Century, and are now celebrated as an official end to Chinese New Year celebrations. The festivals have since spread in popularity across Asia and many can be found across Europe, the US and Canada. In 2013, Chinese New Year begins on 10 February. (Chris Van Hove)
Dozens of child-sized illuminated pandas dominate the children's section of China Light. One of the country's most iconic images, the animal is seen as a symbol of peace and good fortune. (Chris Van Hove)
The animated Chinese Wedding display features moving characters, music and the traditional Bridal Sedan chair used during Chinese wedding ceremonies.
Education and learning
Many of the lantern displays emphasise the importance of education and learning. This one depicts students learning from the Three Character Classic, an ancient textbook used for centuries to introduce children to reading and writing Chinese characters. Varying in size, the displays run from 1ft-high illuminated bugs to a 100m long dragon.
Purity of the heart
Lotus lamps bloom on the water in Het Park. The lotus symbolises purity of the heart and mind, long life and honour.
A highlight of the festival is the 100m-long dragon, an important symbol of fortune in China for more than 8,000 years. (Chris Van Hove)
In a unique feature, the Chinese dragon spews water continuously from its mouth. (Chris Van Hove)
In a nod to the host country, the artists created a special Dutch lantern display depicting traditional symbols of the Netherlands, including tulips and a windmill. (Chris Van Hove)
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