02/25/2013 09:19 am ET

Lantern Festival Ends Chinese New Year In Style

The Chinese New Year's festivities that began in late January and ramped up over the last few weeks have come to a close as celebrants enjoyed the last event marking the transition to the Year of the Snake: lantern festivals illuminating the night from Taipei to Shanghai and deep into rural China. The lantern festivals were, as always, extravagant -- a fitting coda to a series of vacations, family gatherings and firework-heavy presentations.

The People's Daily reported on Sunday's festivities around China, which included puzzle-solving competitions in the Uygur regions and stilt walking in Pingyao. In Tibet, monks got to view beautiful sculptures carved from Yaks' milk, a sort of Himalayan take on the county fair.

In Taiwan, a 60-foot-tall lantern in the shape of an aquatic dragon was the center of a celebration expected to attract over ten million people according to the Taipei Times. Other massive lanterns depicted a phoenix, an elephant and a Pixiu -- a sort of winged lion that protects Feng Shui.

The celebrations across Asia were all -- as they traditionally have been -- visually striking, offering travelers a chance to see traditional artforms in radically exaggerated forms. The wonder was obvious on the faces of locals and visitors alike.

Chinese Lantern Festival 2013
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