Montréal, August 30, 2006 – From September 8 to October 31, the Chinese Garden of the Montréal Botanical Garden will be filled with the colourful glow of The Magic of Lanterns every evening. This year’s theme is Chinese celebrations. Come admire the harvest moon as you stroll through a Chinese landscape, sample Chinese pastries and enjoy the gentle strains of an erhu in the largest Chinese garden outside of Asia.

Visitors will be able to admire five outdoor scenes made of giant coloured lanterns, representing typical festive events: a dragon dance, a dragon boat race, a lion dance, a flying kite and, finally, two costumed figures on stilts. In the Friendship Pavilion they will also be able to examine a collection of musical instruments, including a drum, an essential part of all these festivities.

The five traditional festive occasions to be highlighted are marked by huge celebrations in China. The most important is the Spring Festival (chunjie), at the start of the new year according to the lunar calendar. It culminates with the Lantern Festival (yuanxiaojie), on the fifteenth day of the first month. Lion and dragon dances, parades, family reunions, costumes and banquets are all part of this joyous period. On Ancestors Remembrance Day (qingmingjie), in early April according to the Gregorian calendar, people make offerings to their ancestors – the welcome return of spring weather is also the perfect time to fly kites! The Double Five Festival (duanwujie), on the fifth day of the fifth month, commemorates the death of poet Qu Yuan and is a time for dragon boat races. Finally, the Mid-Autumn Festival (zhongqiujie), on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, celebrates the moon and harvest time – in fact it is also known as the “Moon Festival.” People eat little cakes baked for the occasion and watch lion or dragon dances.

Each year, the Magic of Lanterns festival in the Chinese Garden introduces visitors to a new facet of traditional Chinese culture, while casting gentle light over the Garden from hundreds of lanterns. These fragile works of art, with a delicate frame covered in silk, are designed in Montréal and handmade in Shanghai by Chinese craftspeople. Then they are shipped by boat to Canada and delivered to the Garden so that they can brighten up our autumn skies. The use of decorative lanterns to illuminate Chinese festivities is said to date back more than a thousand years, to the Han dynasty (207 BC – 220 AD). Today they are made in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes. Come admire them for yourself!

September 8 to October 31, 2006
The Magic of Lanterns
“Chinese Celebrations”
The Botanical Garden, including the Chinese Garden and the exhibition greenhouses, and the Insectarium, will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily during this period.

Chinese music and pastries ($) every evening, Wednesday to Sunday at the Chinese Garden (not available if it rains).

We wish to thank our official partner, Clarica, a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies, the Montreal Nature Museums Foundation and the Société du Jardin de Chine de Montréal, who made this event possible.

Admission (includes access to the exhibition greenhouses, outdoor gardens and Insectarium):

$12.75 for adults,
$9.50 for students and seniors,
$6.50 for ages 5 to 17.
Free for ages 4 and under.
Discounts for Accès Montréal cardholders.

Location: Montréal Botanical Garden, 4101 Sherbrooke East, Pie-IX metro station

General information: 514 872-1400
Website: www.ville.montreal.qc.ca/jardin