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Lantern Festival at Missouri Botanical Garden

Updated on November 21, 2014
Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival | Source

First of Its Kind Lantern Festival in St. Louis

Missouri Botanical Garden hosted a Chinese Lantern Festival in the summer of 2012. Lantern Festivals are traditional Chinese celebrations but this will be the first Lantern Festival of this type in the USA.

The festival ran during normal garden hours from May 26th through August 19th. There was also extended hours in the evening to see the magic of the lanterns lit up at night.

I visited the Missouri Botanical Garden on April 28th when the lantern construction was in progress. I had my first look at all the finished lanterns during the Memorial weekend opening festivities. I brought my granddaughters and they were fascinated by all of the beautiful structures. Then in early June I was able to visit the Lantern Festival in the evening and saw the "magic by night". It is truly a beautiful sight!

On this page you will see many of the beautiful lantern festival sites and also some photos from the construction phase. It was truly a wonderful display.

all photographs are by myself, Mary Beth Granger

Dragon Greets Visitors to Missouri Botanical Garden

Dragon Greets Visitors to Missouri Botanical Garden
Dragon Greets Visitors to Missouri Botanical Garden

Magic by Night - Lantern Festival

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Porcelain DragonsJiang Tai Gong FishingLotus PondPanda ParadiseThe First Emperor
Porcelain Dragons
Porcelain Dragons
Jiang Tai Gong Fishing
Jiang Tai Gong Fishing
Lotus Pond
Lotus Pond
Panda Paradise
Panda Paradise
The First Emperor
The First Emperor

Jiang Tai Going Fishing - Display in Chinese Garden

Jiang Tai Going Fishing
Jiang Tai Going Fishing

This delightful display is found in the Chinese Garden. The guide to the Lantern Festival that we were given during the opening weekend tells about each of the lanterns. This is Lantern 22. It is about Jiang Tai Gong who was an expert in military affairs and hoped that he could one day overthrow the evil ruler. He fished without a hook thinking the fish would come to him on their own. Eventually he became a prime minister and helped the King's son overthrow the evil dynasty.

While we were in the Chinese garden a big bullfrog landed on this display. It was delightful to see the frog mixed it with the beautiful display.

Festival Lantern for Home Decoration

Decorate your yard or home for a lantern festival. Here is a pretty decoration you could use.

Chinese Festival & Celebration Paper Lantern
Chinese Festival & Celebration Paper Lantern

I love this colorful red paper lantern.


Blissful Wedding

Blissful Wedding
Blissful Wedding

Cherry Blossom Lane - beautiful silk trees

Cherry Blossom Tree
Cherry Blossom Tree

Here is my granddaughter, Ella in front of one of the Cherry Blossom trees in the garden.

Display on Making the Flowers - molded wire covered with silk

Lantern Festival Flowers
Lantern Festival Flowers

Each of the flowers are constructed of molded wires and then covered with silk.

Dragon at Entrance-view from Parking Lot

Dragon at Entrance-view from Parking Lot
Dragon at Entrance-view from Parking Lot

Butterfly Lovers

Butterfly Lovers
Butterfly Lovers

Butterfly Lovers at Night

Butterfly Lovers at Night
Butterfly Lovers at Night

Lantern Festival - a work in progress

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

Here is a photo I took of the scene being created in the main corridor of the gardens. There were workmen working on two large dragon figures that look like they will come out of each side of this scene. It should be spectacular. Be sure to stop by and see the finished sight. If you can't see it in person, I will be posting more photos after I attend the festival in June.

From the brochure that I picked up at the entrance I learned a few things about the Lantern Festival. The 26 large lantern scenes will be crafted from miles of steel and silk and will be brightly colored and scattered throughout the garden. They will be beautiful to see by day and will be magical at night when they are illuminated.

Constructing the Sets - Chinese Lantern Festival

Constructing the Scenes-Lantern Festival
Constructing the Scenes-Lantern Festival

When I visited in April the parking lot of the garden had two large tents where the scenes were being constructed.

Perhaps the most overwhelming of the "Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night" sets is the three-stories-tall Heavenly Temple, modeled after the Beijing Heavenly Temple constructed in 1420 as a grand shrine where emperors would pray for a fruitful harvest.

From the press release about the festival I learned that skilled artisans from China will spend two months at the Missouri Botanical Garden constructing the 26 scenes. They will be working from reference drawings as they construct the scenes of steel rods that are welded together to form the framework. The structures are then draped in a special silk that is treated to withstand the weather and trimmed with gold trim. Each of the structures will be lit from within.

The following is a quote from the news release

Perhaps the most overwhelming of the "Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night" sets is the three-stories-tall Heavenly Temple, modeled after the Beijing Heavenly Temple constructed in 1420 as a grand shrine where emperors would pray for a fruitful harvest.

I have a photograph of the Heavenly Temple in the introduction module on this page.

Another Construction Photo

Lantern Festival Construction
Lantern Festival Construction

Have your ever seen a Lantern Festival? - stop and leave a note

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    • WhiteOak50 profile image


      5 years ago

      I have never seen a lantern festival but you pictures are beautiful. I love how colorful they are.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      5 years ago

      No, actually I saw in something in China Town San Francisco, but not so extensive as a festival.... Great lens Blessings!

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 

      6 years ago from Manila Philippines

      Awesome photos! I have attended an annual lantern festival way back in college and saw some larger than life amazing lanterns!

    • texan203 lm profile image

      texan203 lm 

      6 years ago

      Beautifully well done. The pictures are vibrant. I would love to see a lantern festival

    • flycatcherrr profile image


      6 years ago

      These lanterns are such vibrant colours - and the dragon is just fabulous! I've never been to a lantern festival, but your photos are the next best thing.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 

      6 years ago from Albany New York

      I would really enjoy this type of festival...wish I could get there.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      No, I've never seen a lantern festival, but I'd love to after visiting yours!

    • microfarmproject profile image


      6 years ago

      Lovely lens! I wish I lived closer to the area so that I could attend this festival.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      How wonderfully enchanting, your pictures are fantastic and you provide a great tour with your insights. I think the Backyard Party theme must have been made just for this event, how perfect!

    • teristazko profile image


      6 years ago

      Never seen a lantern festival but looks amazing...great pictures! Thanks for sharing.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I haven't seen it - but it looks like it would be a great event for everyone, especially into the night. *blessed

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      6 years ago

      No, but my eyes are so happy seeing all the shapes and colors from your photos. If I get the chance, I'll go! "Squid Angel blessed."

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 

      6 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I'll bet it is so beautiful to see one! It looks very lovely in the daylight and I'll bet even more lovely at night and with the lanterns lit. What a wonderful event to share with your granddaughters. :)

    • kimbesa2 profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Sounds like something new, except perhaps in places with a large Asian population -- all as respects North America, that is. Perhaps common in Asia.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      6 years ago

      The Lantern Festival looks amazing. I've never seen one.


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