The Magic of Lanterns

A Millennia-Old Tradition in Montreal

The use of decorative lanterns to brighten and illuminate Chinese festivities is said to date back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).  The tradition of stringing up lanterns on the 15th day of the first lunar month probably originated during the Sui Dynasty (581-618).

Over the next several centuries, commoners began using lanterns to mark the end of the New Year’s celebration – a practice that had previously been an Imperial prerogative. Glittering lanterns were now produced in all sorts of shapes. The tradition lives on today in China, at the start of the lunar year and during the Moon Festival, celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.

Like a Painting

To salute the Shanghai world Expo and the 25th anniversary of the friendship between Shanghai and Montreal, in 210, the Chinese Garden invited guests on a journey of exploration through the most famous tradition in Chinese painting: Qing Ming Shang He Tu (Along the River during the Qing Ming Festival).

This piece, painted in 1127 on a 5.28-metre scroll, echoes the Better City Better Life theme of the World Expo-2010, for it depicts an era when Chines cities had grown beyond their administrative role to become true economic, industrial and mercantile shipping centres.

The original painting shows some 800 figures during the Qing Ming Festival, a key period in the lunar calendar, when the Chinese honour their ancestors. The atmosphere in this very rarely displayed masterpiece is high festive, depicting the Chinese people busy forging their future while paying tribute to the past. As visitors stroll along the paths through the Garden, they can have fun spotting lanterns representing some of the elements in this Chinese national treasure. You can see the mandarin on horseback, the traveller riding a camel, the lovely Chinese lady seated in a sedan chair and much more.

chinese lanterns

A Traveller with his horse. Photo © ProvinceQuebec

chinese lanterns traveller

Two little puppies from China. Photo © ProvinceQuebec

chinese dragons

Dragon from China in Montreal. Photo © ProvinceQuebec

china magic of lanterns

A happy Chinese family. Photo © ProvinceQuebec

pagoda china

Pagoda. Photo © ProvinceQuebec

birds from china

Nice birds from China. Photo © ProvinceQuebec

Chinese lake

Chinses lake. Photo © ProvinceQuebec


Turtle from China. Photo © ProvinceQuebec

tiger from China

A Tiger from China. Photo © ProvinceQuebec

panoramic view of China garden

Panoramic view of China Garden. Photo :

chinese chicken

Chinese Chicken. Photo © ProvinceQuebec

chinese peasant

A traveller from China. Photo © ProvinceQuebec

traveller from china

A traveller from China. Photo © ProvinceQuebec


 A Chinese mandarin. Photo © ProvinceQuebec

The Montreal Botanical Garden uses new technology for the Magic of Lanterns, with the TFT LED Contactless System.. It’s a simple, safe and highly energy-efficient solution. The TFT LED Contactless System has only two parts: the master power supply and the LED light modules. Each light module contains from 2 to 12 diodes that light up with no direct physical electrical contact.

The modules simply slide onto a standard multistrand wire, and the electrical energy in the wire is transmitted by induction to a magnetic coil in each Contactless LED module.

Once the modules are slid onto the wire, they are fixed inside each lantern, distributing the light more efficiently along its frame and allowing visitors to better appreciate all the details and splendours of these masterpieces created by Chinese artisans.

The benefits of using the TFT LED Contcactless Systeme for the Magic of Lanterns :

  • Nearly 100% of the energy is converted to light
  • Very low voltage alternating current (20,000 Hz)
  • A substantial reduction in energy use (nearly 10 times less)
  • The diodes cannot overheat, so there is no fire hazard
  • Each diode has a 100,000-hour lifetime
  • The system is reliable even in poor weather
  • If one diode fails, it has no impact on the other in the circuit
  • Easy to install, reliable and very safe.

See also:

  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis