Pampanga's Parul Sampernandu to join China lantern fest

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Sunday, January 5, 2014


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Parul Sampernandu and its kin, the giant lanterns, will again make history, as they are the first-ever Asian participants in the exclusive and revered Xiamen traditional Chinese Lantern Festival.

The organizing committee of the Xiamen Lantern Festival and International Garden Show (circa 206 BC-AD 25 under the Western Han Dynasty), slated from February 2 to February 17 this year, has specifically chosen the City of San Fernando -- dubbed as Asia’s Christmas Capital by CNN because of its unique giant lanterns -- to give Chinese a peak of the local Parul Sampernandu, in the highly restricted show.

“The lantern festival is the traditional festival of Chinese people. It is an important festive occasion of folk customs and promote cultural heritage. The lantern show, which has been consecutively organized in the City of Xiamen over the past few years, has become one of the well-renowned lantern shows in China. It has gained popularity because of its unique features of Minnan (Southern Fujian) folk customs and the integration of traditional and modern elements as well as being the major venue for it, in terms of participation and size,” said the organizing committee’s communiqué to Mayor Edwin Santiago.

“Looking forward to your participation in the 2014 Xiamen Lantern Show and in order to further enhance the cultural exchange between China and the Philippines… as we sincerely exert all efforts to provide all kinds of support for the participation of your good city and country,” it added.

In another note to Santiago, Consul General to China Julius Ceasar A. Flores said that the move will “contribute to the nurturing of relations between the Philippines and China, and more particularly, in the deepening of ties between our people on one hand and on the other, with the city of Xiamen and the provinces of Fujian and Jiangxi.”

City Tourism and Investments Promotions chief Ching Pangilian-Gonzales said the City and its lantern makers led by master craftsman Erning Quiwa are all set for the festival.

“We believe that this is the first time an Asian country or city outside of China has been invited to the festival where lanterns are icons of exclusive culture and tradition. We are hot on preparations now and mighty proud of the rare invitation,” she said.

Santiago, for his part, told Sun.Star Pampanga over the weekend that the city is “very much willing to be an avenue for better cultural and trade relations with China.”

“We are optimistic that through our renowned Parul Sampernandu, better relationships with our Chinese brothers and sisters will be nurtured. We look forward to this China sojourn,” he said.

Aside from China, the Parul Sampernandu has been in Hollywood in 1993, a year before, at the World Expo in Spain, the Philippines' embassies and consulates in Canada, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Thailand and the United States, among others.

The Fernandino lanterns have also bedizened such Austrian landmarks as the Rathausplatz and Ethnology Museum in Vienna, as well as the Stadtturm in Innsbruck, including the Lord Mayor's House in Dublin and the Good Shepherd Cathedral in Singapore. (Sun.Star Pampanga/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 06, 2014.

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