Lights of the World is a unique international lantern arts festival that combines the age-old Chinese tradition of lantern festivals with modern cutting-edge technology and lights. The Lights of the World lantern displays extend from 18 to 60 feet, showcasing features of different cultures and civilizations around the globe. With 11 overarching exhibits and 75 stunning displays, Lights of the World promises an unforgettable exploration of global cultures and cuisine. Lights of the World also possesses a litany of other entertainment features, including over 30 Carnival rides and games, a daily performance showcasing acrobatics, dance, and music concerts. As a joint project with over 6 million dollars invested, Lights of the World will be the largest lights show in North America to date, extending from November 18, 2016 to January 29, 2017.
US-China Educational Foundation was established in 1978, before being renamed US-China Cultural & Educational Foundation (UCCEF) in 2001. As a global communications foundation, UCCEF has specialized in setting up cultural exchange programs between the United States and China for over 30 years. In organizing festivals, expositions, and cultural performances of bands, orchestras, and dancers, UCCEF has helped almost 10,000 people experience American and Chinese cultural exchanges. UCCEF has also worked closely with many US businesses to improve their community strategies and cultural exchange efforts.
UCCEF recently formed a partnership with Zigong Lantern Festival and Trade Company, a top lantern company in Zigong, China. The company holds the highest records of exhibiting Chinese lanterns around the world, in countries such as South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, Russia, Canada, and the United States. Zigong Lantern Festival and Trade Company, one of 200 lantern companies in Zigong, has a market share of 60% in all lantern festival exports. Lights of the World will set the precedence in terms of scale and design of all lantern festivals ever hosted in the U.S.
The town of Rawhide is located in Wild Horse Pass, on the ancient Tribal lands of the Gila River Indian Community. The town of Rawhide promises to deliver up a true western experience with multiple attractions and retail stores, including the nearby Phoenix Premium Outlets, resort & spa, golf facility, casino, and beautiful natural views. This year, it will host the 2016 Lights of the World for the first time in Arizona. Locals consider Rawhide to be the Best Western destination of Arizona! The readers of azcentral.com and the Arizona Republic nominated and selected Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse of Wild Horse Pass as Best Western Experience of Arizona.
The Lantern Festival evokes an image steeped in both tradition and beauty. Dating back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 25), it has since become a festival with great cultural significance. During the Lantern Festival, people went out in the evening to various temples, carrying paper lanterns and solving riddles that were printed on the lanterns. The Lantern Festival celebrated the “declining darkness of winter” with the ability to move through the dark with lanterns.
The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar (which usually lies in February). The 15th day is the first full moon of the lunar year; according to Taoist tradition, the 15th day is also dedicated to Shangyuan, the “Official of Heaven”, who loves bright and joyful objects. Thousands of colorful lanterns are thus hung out during the Festival each year. People try to solve puzzles on the lanterns, eat sticky rice balls, and have fun with family during this time.
In ancient times, only the aristocracy had ornate lanterns, leaving lower to middle class people with fairly simple lanterns. In modern times, however, lanterns have been embellished with beautifully complex designs. For example, lanterns are now often crafted in the shape of animals. Whatever the intricacies though, lanterns are almost always red to symbolize good fortune. Lanterns can also symbolize the turning of a new leaf, as people let go of their past selves in a vow to do better in the New Year.
During the 21st century, the Lantern Festival has spread rapidly from its place of origin, travelling around the globe. Lantern Festivals have been brought to more than 21 cities overseas, where over 15,530,000 visitors have celebrated and admired its splendor. With the newest LCD/LED technology and metal fabrication, the lanterns today are designed over 10 times the original size and in great detail. Rather than paper lanterns, Lantern Festivals combine architecture, sculpture, electricity, and arts design to create truly awe-inspiring sights. This year, we are excited to bring the largest Lantern Festival that has ever been produced globally, to Phoenix.