This week, people throughout Asia celebrate the Lantern Festival, which traditionally marks the close of Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival. Brightly color lanterns of red and yellow are hung everywhere. Perhaps the most famous Lantern Festival is along the Qinhuai River in Nanjing China. The tradition dates back to the Eastern Wu, about 222 AD. Lanterns were hung to honor the return of warriors. The Lantern Festival gradually expanded and during the Ming dynasty the Lantern Festival expanded to a 10 day celebration! Many of the activities and temporary shops of the lantern artisans were focused around the Confucius Temple, along the Qinghai River. Today the Confucius Temple has been restored, hundreds of small shops fill the area around the Temple and the Qinghai River and countless red and yellow lanterns are hung throughout the area!
In the spirit of the Lantern Festival, famed lotus hybridizer Ding Yuesheng named one of his beautiful lotus for the Lantern Festival. Colorful Lantern in Qinhuai is a brilliant, red lotus with a yellow center, similar to the Chinese lantern. Colorful Lantern in Qinhuai is a prolific blooming lotus which opens our lotus season in June and flowers until September, with an occasional rest. It’s generous number of flowers reminds us of the multitude of lanterns along the Qinhuai river. This is a small lotus or bowl lotus and possibly a micro lotus but it puts forth a grand show for all to see!
In September of 2016, Larry Nau had the privilege of speaking about waterlilies at the Nanjing Botanical Gardens. While in Nanjing, our hostess took us to the Confucius Temple and the surrounding market. One of the first views we experienced was of the Qinhuai river. Oddly, I have no photos of lanterns from that evening!