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Home>>Life >> Travel
17:30, June 29, 2009

Old Summer Palace to kick off Lotus Festival

The 88 red stars lay out on the South Gate lawn. The 14th Lotus Festival of the Old Summer Palace starts July 1 and runs until August 31. (Photo Source: china.org.cn)

Lotuses are in full bloom again at the Old Summer Palace. They fill the ponds. They line the paths: bright pink and yellow blossoms amidst a sea of round green leaves.

Yuanming Yuan, or Garden of Eternal Brightness, is set to kick off its 14th annual Lotus Festival on Wednesday. The garden has the largest area covered by lotuses and the most lotus breeds in Beijing. But this year's festival will feature more than just lotuses.

Eighty-eight red stars fill the square lawn outside the South Gate. Designed by land artist Di Naizhuang, the decoration celebrates the 88th anniversary of the Communist Party's founding, which coincides with the start of the festival. The decoration also is a gift for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

"We've always wanted to have a special design for this year's Lotus Festival, and the current design of the 88 red stars meets our requirements," said the chief of the garden's Public Relations Division. Di's design, "Red Star, Red Star," stood out among a vast array of lotus suggestions, which have been used in the past, he said.

A yellow lotus flower in full bloom at the Old Summer Palace.(Photo Source: china.org.cn)

The festival's opening ceremony also will celebrate the auspicious milestone for the Party, starting at 8:08 a.m. Wednesday. The garden's Administration Division will take an oath on the South Gate square in front of 288 Party members from the district government of Haidian.

This year's festival also boasts other firsts for the Old Summer Palace. It will push its closing time back two hours to 9 p.m. Visitors will be able to experience the garden at night, when it will light up the area around the Jianbi Pavilion. More food and drinks made with the lotus plant also will be available.

Perhaps the biggest attraction, though, will be the royal water lilies. Their gigantic floating flat leaves can hold a child weighing up to 30 kilograms.

The festival will run until August 31.

Source: Xinhua
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