Fuzhou's sross-Straits lantern show opened to the public on Feb 7, four days ahead of Lantern Festival, which this year falls on Feb 11.
It is the fifteenth year the capital of Fujian province has celebrated the festival hand-in-hand with Taiwan's Mazu township, a small group of islands off the Minjiang River Estuary, where Fuzhou is located.
The event is traditionally held in Fuzhou's Mawei district, home to a freshwater port with a long history. This year, the show took place in East Jiangbin Park, by the Minjiang River.
The show's opening night attracted huge crowds coming to see the nearly 1,000 lanterns set along the kilometer-long path meandering through the park's riverside landscape of luscious plants and artistic sculptures.
The lantern designs were divided into several themes, including auspicious New Year, Maritime Silk Road, modern development, fashionable Mawei, heritage and tradition, and shared prosperity in the cross-Straits community.
Because Mawei district and Mazu township both have the character "ma" in their names, the lantern show is often referred to by locals as the "Double Ma" show. The increased Mazu elements at this year's show were welcomed by visitors to the Mawei district park, which included large numbers of Fuzhou residents.
Mazu artists provided 45 intricately-designed lantern sets, more than last year's 35. This included two large structures representing the Taoist deity King Baima and mythical figure Prince Ne Zha, both ofwhich are religious icons to island fishermen and are the subjects of pilgrimages by Fujian and Taiwan residents alike.
To accommodate more lanterns and visitors, the event set up several sub-venues at several public areas across the district, where images of roosters symbolizing the start of the Chinese Year of the Rooster dominate the scene.
A lantern set representing Fuzhou's profound seafaring history and the great ancient trade route, the Maritime Silk Road, shines at a lantern show in Fuzhou, Fujian province. [Photo by Jiang Qiaoling/Xinhua]