Chinese lantern festival kicks off in Lithuania

An oriental lantern festival kicked off at northern Lithuania's Pakruojis Manor on Saturday night, showcasing more than 20 thematic installations of lights made by Chinese craftsmen.

The festival, titled "The Great Lanterns of China", is the first of its kind in the Baltic region. It is co-organized by Pakruojis Manor and Zigong Haitian Culture Co. Ltd, a lantern company from Zigong, a city in southwest China's Sichuan province that is hailed as the "birthplace of Chinese lanterns".

With four themes -- China Square, Fair Tale Square, Christmas Square and Park of Animals, the festival highlights the exhibition of a 40-meter-long dragon, made of 2 tons of steel, some 1,000 meters of satin, and over 500 LED lights.

All the creations displayed at the festival are designed, made, assembled and operated by Zigong Haitian Culture. It took 38 craftsmen 25 days to make the creations in China, and 8 craftsmen then had them assembled here at the manor in 23 days, according to the Chinese company.

Giedrius Klimkevičius, owner of Pakruojis Manor, told Xinhua that he came across the Chinese lantern festival on the internet, and was so fascinated by the beauty of lights and the lively atmosphere when people visited it with their families that he decided to introduce them here in Lithuania.

"The winter nights in Lithuania are really dark and long so everyone is seeking for light and festive activities they could participate with family and friends, so we are sure that people will be amazed by the lanterns and some tastes of Chinese culture coming close to them during the festival," he said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ma Taotao, an official with the Chinese Embassy in Lithuania, said Lithuania is the first stop of the China Colored Lantern Festival in Eastern Europe, which not only shows the close cultural exchanges between the two countries, but also the welcoming of and respect for the traditional Chinese culture from the Lithuanian people.

The festival will run until Jan. 6, 2019.

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