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Chinese Lantern Festival in North Central
By Sara Hooker | Daily Herald Staff

In Chinese tradition, red lanterns mark the end of the lunar new year celebration. Xilin's Lantern Festival marks the occasion on Sunday with dance and other cultural performances.

 

Tanit Jarusan | Staff Photographer, 2006

Dancing, singing and instrumental performances will celebrate the Chinese Lantern Festival on Sunday in Naperville. The festival also will include a martial arts demonstration by Shaolin monks.

 

Courtesy of Yun Yang

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Published: 4/15/2010 12:05 AM

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North Central's Pfeiffer Hall becomes an ancient Chinese monastery with a Buddha and fighting monks this weekend at Xilin Art Center's Lantern Festival.

The fifth annual festival will include 100 performers and feature the martial arts ad worship of China's Shaolin monks.

Xilin Art Center, based in Naperville, is an organization that serves the Asian population's needs in the Chicago area.

The Lantern Festival, a special occasion celebrating life and light, is a traditional Chinese festival celebrated on the 15 day of the first lunar month. It indicates the end of all Lunar New Year festivities.

In the past, colorful red lanterns decorated the streets and buildings of China during the festival. Today, the lantern festival remains a major event for the country with elaborate fireworks displays.

The feature presentation on Sunday, April 18, is by the Shaolin monks, who originated in China 1,500 years ago and now have temples in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Using spears, swords and knives, 10 monks, two of whom traveled from China for the event, will use strength and flexibility to demonstrate their swift movements and martial arts.

The performance will include a backdrop and a big Buddha that will emulate the actual morning ritual in China. The monks' costumes are tiger orange, fitting in with the festival's theme "Rising Tiger."

"Basically they're going to have their morning worship, and the song they will sing is really what they're doing over there in the morning," said Xilin Executive Director Linda Yang. "They're doing what they're doing at the original Shaolin temple."

Other performances include Chinese dancing, singing and music. Special appearances will be given by the Chengda Percussion Ensemble and the Xilin children's performing choir.

This is the second year Art Director and Choreographer Yang Qiang has organized the performance. An award-winning dance instructor, Qiang originates from the prestigious Beijing Ballet Dance Institute in Beijing, China.

Last year's performance was sold out, and tickets are nearly sold out for Sunday's performance, Yang said.

"We're just trying to bring different things to the public and let people enjoy the rich culture of the performing arts," Yang said.

The Xilin Lantern Festival begins at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 18, at North Central College's Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville.

Tickets are $10 for general seating or $20 for VIP seating. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Xilin Center, 1163 E. Ogden Ave., Suite 301, or at the door the day of the performance if seats are available.

For information, call (630) 355-4322 or visit xilin.org.