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For Frizztext’s Letter L challenge this week at http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/  I give you Lanterns

Last month, when we paid a visit to St Louis, we were lucky enough to see the Chinese Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.  This was a double treat since the lanterns looked just as beautiful during the day with the sun shining on the colorful silk arrangements as they did at night when they were illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights.

I knew it was going to be an awesome sight but wasn’t prepared for the spectacular display that awaited us.  The only Chinese lanterns that I’d ever seen before had been those small ones hanging up at parties or the plants that we used to call ‘Chinese Lanterns.’  But the lanterns at the gardens were something else entirely.  Many of the striking 26 set pieces towered above us.

The Porcelain Dragon pair, made of more than 40,000 pieces of blue and white, hand-tied porcelain dishware was the centerpiece and, as the sun went down, their heads began to move back and forth as smoke billowed from their gaping jaws.

As we wandered around the gardens we were greeted at almost every turn by a new and more elaborate presentation depicting Chinese legends such as the butterfly lovers and the patient fisherman. Other representations of Chinese life and culture such as panda bears, lotus flowers and dragons lined the pathways.

Thousands of people attended the Chinese Lantern Festival in St Louis during its three month visit and I, for one, would love another chance to see this beautiful exhibit again but I have a feeling it may have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.