China's lantern makers are gearing up for the new year Workers assemble lanterns at Luyang Industrial Park in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province, Jan. 26, 2016. (Du Yu/Xinhua Press/Corbis/Song Jie/Xinhua Press/Corbis)
China's lantern makers are gearing up for the new year
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Nothing says Chinese New Year like a bright red lantern that bobs and shines its good luck message. For many, these iconic lanterns are synonymous with China. Each year, China's over-the-top annual lantern festival brings more awareness to the traditional form of lighting.
 
Chinese New Year falls on Jan. 28 this year and the lantern festival will take place on Feb. 11. For China's lantern makers, it's right around the corner.
 
The Agence France-Presse writes that lantern makers in China's self-proclaimed "lantern capital," the village of Tuntou, in Hebei province, are working overtime to make thousands of handmade lanterns in time for the holiday season. Tuntou has a long history of lantern making: China Central Television reports that the village has produced lanterns since the 18th century where artisans spend a lifetime working on their craft and then pass along their skills to their relatives.
 
Tuntou has cornered an estimated 70 percent of the domestic market, CCTV writes. China's annual lantern output is staggering. It is estimated to be in the tens of millions, built in both large and small factories. The push isn't just for Chinese New Year: the lanterns are used for other celebrations, too. But Chinese New Year is the granddaddy of all lantern holidays.
 
The color red symbolizes good luck in Chinese culture, and many lanterns are painted with phrases in Chinese. Tuntou's Communist leader tells the AFP that most lanterns are now decorated with "socialist core values" slogans that reflect country leader Xi Jinping's priorities of prosperity, democracy, civility, harmony, freedom, equality, justice, the rule of law, patriotism, dedication, integrity and friendship. But on China's Weibo microblogs, 90 percent of online comments about the slogans are negative, reports the Asahi Shimbun.
 
Whether you see them as political statements or just pretty objects, one thing is for sure: China's lantern industry isn't slowing down any time soon.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are 90 percent of online comments about the slogans negative?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (10)
  • zakrym-ste
    1/20/2017 - 12:42 p.m.

    This is a pretty coool thing to do. They have to make so many. I think it would be cool to something like this

  • monicas-ste
    1/20/2017 - 02:09 p.m.

    This is so cool. I love this article. It's amazing how many lanterns go in the sky.

  • irisp-ste
    1/23/2017 - 09:16 a.m.

    The negative comments are most likely individuals speaking out about their opposition to the communist beliefs in China. More people are going to jump on a topic if it is negative rather than something positive for the Chinese people to celebrate. The New Year should be a time of time of peaceful new beginnings, but political divisions around the world make it harder to focus on this.

  • johannaw-cel
    1/23/2017 - 10:15 a.m.

    Chinese New Year is this year on January 28th and they have a lantern festival which will take place on February 11th. For many, these bright red lanterns that are shining are synonymous with China and they are a good luck message. Each year, China's lantern festival brings more awareness to the traditional form of lighting. The village of Tuntou, in the Hebei province, is working to make thousands of handmade lanterns and they have a long history of lantern making, they have produced lanterns since the 18th century. China's annual lantern output is estimated to be in the tens of millions. In my opinion this is a really good and interesting tradition and I like the idea of handmade lanterns with the color red with phrases in Chinese.

  • charleyh1-pla
    1/24/2017 - 02:52 p.m.

    The lantern-makers preparing for the Chinese New Year deal with political negativity through the slogans printed on the red lanterns, signifying good luck in the Chinese culture. Throwing back to the "old times", the lantern-makers pass the art down through their relatives to continue the tradition.
    I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Chinese New Year, a cultural holiday I, previously, knew little about. Could the color red's meaning of good luck in China somehow be linked to the common Western meaning of power due to power usually being seen as important/lucky?
    The article could have flowed better with a stronger lead sentence, but overall an informative read.

  • kaileew-ste
    1/26/2017 - 02:02 p.m.

    Each year, China holds a lantern festival to celebrate the new year. Their new year is January 28th. This is a cool tradition to have.

  • nidhit-jon
    1/27/2017 - 01:32 p.m.

    Maybe there are people who dislike the culture.
    This reminds me about when I lived in China!!

  • jacquelynt-
    2/02/2017 - 09:10 a.m.

    That's pretty cool

  • vaneises-
    5/19/2017 - 08:37 a.m.

    90 percent of online comments are negative because most lanterns are decorated with "socialist core values" slogans that reflect country leader Xi Jinping's priorities, most of the comments are speaking against China's socialism.

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