Arts

Chinese Cultural Works Light up Dandenong

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Dandenong has never seen its equal. The Chinese Cultural Works Lights Spectacular has finally come to Melbourne after being a hit sensation across China and Europe.

For the last two months Greaves Reserve in Dandenong has housed thirty-two individual light displays showcasing stunning Chinese culture.

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Ranging from whimsical ‘moonlit’ walkways and castles to the Chinese animal zodiac, the light festival had an eclectic mix of displays to delight the whole family. We arrived a little later in the evening which was perfect because the darker the night, the more brilliant the lights.

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The well-thought out design of the displays guided you through the entire festival while different music in various areas added to the atmosphere, immersing you in Chinese culture. The silk lanterns ranged in size and colour, the largest spanning 20 by 8 metres.

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The animal exhibit was quite spectacular, with the peacock’s feathers changing colours and some displays being able to move. Don’t get too comfortable near the elephant’s display though. As we were taking pictures some people got sprayed by an elephant while trying to take a photo with them.  You think the big puddle in front of the elephants would have tipped them off.

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This Chinese dragon was magnificent, one of the largest displays in the festival. Its fiery colours gave a sense of movement and it contrasted nicely with the night sky while the surrounding path allowed it to be seen from all angles.

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Some familiar faces could be seen across the festival and these animals were a lot of fun for the kids (almost as fun as the elephant spraying unsuspecting visitors). As well as reminding us of well-loved movies, the signs next to each display told us the significance of each animal in Chinese culture, which The World Loves Melbourne enjoyed learning about.

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The festival is a great place to bring kids (and I probably should have used my remaining ticket to do just that), especially with the jumping castle right near the animal display.

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One of the most informative sections of the festival was the walkway showcasing the Chinese animal zodiac. While reading the descriptions under each lantern animal, I found the one corresponding to my year of birth, the rooster. Hunting for their animal could definitely provide a bit of family fun.

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People wandering around the festival all at their own pace added to the atmosphere and light conversations—full of lots of oohs and ahhs—mingled with the cheerful music floating through the reserve.

The lights display is unlike anything I’ve seen before and the Chinese Cultural Works Light Spectacular has brought a unique opportunity to Australia to experience beauty and soak up vibrant Chinese culture. 

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