Bridgette Murphy and Jim Richards, at the Lunar New Year Festival on January 25, work on a one-fifth scale version of the rat lantern they will build for the Festival of Cultures Lantern Parade on February 29.
Imaginations will be set alight during a series of workshops designed to create lanterns that will form part of the display as part of the Festival of Cultures later this month.
Bridgette Murphy and Jim Richards, creative directors of the Rangiwahia Environmental Arts Centre, are festival stalwarts and are helping run the workshops, which allow people to make their own lantern.
“Some people think it’s a kids’ thing, but we prefer whānau involvement, teenagers, kids, elderly. It’s the intergenerational thing that makes these events special,” Murphy said.
The illuminated wonder of community-created lanterns will light up The Square to herald the start of the 2020 Palmerston North Festival of Cultures on February 29.
The Lantern Parade will also have live music and food from 7pm, with the parade itself from 8.30pm.
Murphy and Richards have been helping work on a 4.5 metre rat to celebrate the heralding of the Year of the Rat. The rat will be joined by an Ox next year, completing the centre’s set of 12 4.5m centrepiece Chinese zodiac lanterns.
Those who attend the lantern-making workshops will be able to work side-by-side to enhance the community-minded feel of the event, with newbies encouraged to focus on decoration and seasoned creators to work on more complex designs.
“There are two basic types of lantern forms and the decoration can be leant to anything – so any creature, any television show, anything at all. We can cut out stencils to fit on to lanterns, so we can adapt them to accommodate people’s imagination. We had a T-rex last year,” Richards said.
“We have a very diverse set of nationalities coming to make lanterns. We really love to see the interactions, the learning and talking, the friendships made.”.
It is expected the lantern parade will boast hundreds of lanterns, with people bringing back lanterns made in previous years.
“It’s a really nice sense of reusing and supports the sustainability message,” Richards said.
People bringing lanterns to the parade will need to note a couple of safety points – no candles, and no flying lanterns.
Suggestions for lighting lanterns include $2 shop torches, bike torches and solar string lights.
“Last year some people used their phones to light them up,” Richards said. Lantern lighting is covered in the workshops.
To take part in one or more workshops – no booking needed – people can go to a session held at 106 King St, Palmerston North, on February 14 (3pm to 8pm), February 15 (11am to 4pm), February 18 (3pm to 8pm), February 21 (3pm to 8pm), February 22 (11am to 4pm), February 23 (11am to 4pm) and February 26 (3pm to 7pm).