Fun Facts about the NC Chinese Lantern Festival


  • Our community is host to more than 25 Chinese artisans and performers who arrive in North Carolina in early November to assemble these beautiful, hand-made lanterns and share Chinese cultural arts performances during this annual celebration.
  • The North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival is produced by Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc., in cooperation with the Town of Cary.
  • Only select communities nation-wide enjoy a similar holiday festival. This year, Columbus, Indianapolis and Little Rock join Cary as hosts. We’re fortunate to have Chinese culture light up North Carolina during the holidays for the fourth year in a row!
  • The ancient art of Chinese lantern making began in the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD), a significant period for science and innovation. Every year since, during Chinese New Year, families view colorful lanterns to symbolize respect for Chinese culture.


  • Lanterns on display are lit with more than 15,000 LED.
  • The spectacular Chinese Dragon lantern is longer than three school buses and weighs 18,000 pounds. Standing 200 feet long and 21 feet high, the dragon floats on Symphony Lake in Cary.
    Fun fact: its head was installed by crane with a 15-person crew!
  • Visitors enter the festival through huge scarlet lantern gates, in the form of a four-story pagoda with spinning upper floors.
  • Each lantern is created by hand on silk fabric stretched over steel frames and then lit with upwards of hundreds of LED.
  • Lanterns are made exclusively for this event and shipped from China into the North Carolina Ports.
  • It took 19 tractor-trailers to deliver this year’s lanterns. That’s up from 13 in the first year, and 15 last year.
  • Lanterns are mainly made in only one city in China: Zigong, Sichuan, the lantern capital of China for thousands of years.
  • Many of our visiting artisans’ lantern-crafting skills are passed down from one generation to the next.
  • Most traditional Chinese lantern festivals are celebrated on the 15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar, marking the last day of the lunar New Year. This tradition dates back 2000 years!
  • In ancient times, lanterns were fairly simple and only the emperor and noblemen had large, ornate ones. In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with complex designs such as the ones on view here in Cary.
  • The prominence of red in the designs symbolizes good fortune.

Chinese Cultural Arts Performances
Tuesday thru Sunday  6:30pm | 7:30pm | 8:30pm

Beyond beautiful lanterns, the festival once again welcomes a unique showcase of Chinese culture, featuring martial arts, traditional dance, acrobatics, calligraphy and drum performances. Included with festival admission, three performances take place each night.

  • Chinese Contortion: This acrobatic form has thousands of years of history in China and is among the most popular traditional acrobatic performances, described as “a body art exceeding the limits of the body.” Performer Chen Meimei is a silver medalist who has performed around the world in France, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, and the U.S.
  • Chinese Face-Changing: “Biàn liǎn” is an ancient Chinese dramatic art that is part of the Sichuan Opera, in which performers wear brightly colored costumes and move to quick, dramatic music. They also wear vividly colored masks, which they change from one face to another almost instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, movement of the head, or wave of the hand. Performer Liu Xia is an experienced dramatic artist from China’s Sichuan Province whose acrobatic performances began at 12. She has traveled to perform in Russia, France, Japan, Italy, Tunisia and Korea.
  • Chinese Cupe Diabolo & Plate Spinning: Diabolo is a form of juggling that has evolved from 12th Century Chinese yo-yo, consisting of an axle and two discs spun using string attached to two hand sticks. Plate Spinning is a traditional Chinese acrobatic performance that requires great skill and balance in which performers use a stick to spin plates. Performers Yi Xiaoli and Zou Jie joined the Deyang Acrobatic Association before age 11 and have performed in Korea, Great Britain, France, Thailand and the U.S. Both are masters at diabolo, trick-cycling, plate spinning and contortion.
  • Chinese Calligraphy: Widely practiced in China, calligraphy is an expression of the human language using aesthetic forms and ink styles. Artist Zhang Guisheng is a master of the art of calligraphy and will dazzle visitors with the beauty of his form.
  • Chinese Drum: In Buddhist traditions, the drum is used as a signal to gather people. It is a popular Chinese folk instrument dating to ancient times that has been used to tell time and for sacrificial, military and religious ceremonies as well as for dancing, weddings, festivals and other occasions. Performer Yan Hui is a nationally recognized percussionist in China.

Social Media

Twitter: @BoothAmp   |   Instagram: @booth_amp   |   Facebook: @BoothAmphitheatre, @NCChineseLanternFestival

Festival Website:

Tianyu Arts & Culture Website:

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