The Orient comes to Rotterdam in The Netherlands this Christmas as Europe’s biggest Chinese light festival illuminates the city. China Light Rotterdam runs from December through mid-February at Euromast Park and sees scores of Chinese artists turning the gardens into a sparkling winter wonderland of mythical beasts, lotus flowers, giant snails and even Kung Fu Panda lighting up the night.
As well as cute light sculptures of cartoon characters, floating fish and Chinese children, the central attractions of the festival will be a 330-foot (100-meter) automated dragon and a neon-lit replica of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing’s Forbidden City.
With nightly laser shows illuminating the skies over the Mass River, Chinese dim sum and noodles will be served along with warming green tea to ward off the winter chill. Classical Chinese music and dance performances plus games and workshops for children provide a fantastic night out for families.
The origins of Chinese light festivals are lost in time. They may have stemmed from lanterns and fireworks being lit in honor of the gods when praying for a good harvest, or possibly from primitive attempts to stop vengeful gods burning the earth by making it appear to be already on fire.
China Light Rotterdam lights up every night at 5pm; see the show from above with a trip 315 feet (96 meters) up to Euromast’s observation platform to view the laser display and the glittering light sculptures and Rotterdam’s twinkling lights laid out far below.