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Palace Museum shines as it gets ready for its first night tour in 94 years

(People's Daily Overseas New Media)    14:11, February 19, 2019

The Palace Museum gets ready for its rare night tours. (Photo: The Palace Museum)

The Palace Museum in Beijing, also known as the Forbidden City, lit up Monday evening in preparation for rare night tours—the first time it will be open to the public at night in 94 years---to celebrate the Lantern Festival, which falls on Feb. 19 this year.

The Palace Museum announced on its official website on Sunday that its “Lantern Festival Night in the Forbidden City” event will be held for two consecutive nights on Feb. 19 and 20, the 15th and 16th days of the first lunar month. The two-night-long celebration will feature a red lantern show and light projection for renowned ancient paintings, as well as New Year-themed exhibitions inside the grand palace cluster.

Night events are rare because the ancient buildings are mainly made of wood. This year, however, the Palace Museum will break with tradition.

According to the announcement, visitors can enjoy a magnificent view of the lit-up Meridian Gate (Wu Men in Chinese) before entering. Then, they can go up to the Meridian Gate Tower and enjoy the exhibition “Celebrating the Spring Festival in the Forbidden City.”

The announcement quickly lit up Chinese social media, with many fans waiting until midnight to try to snap up tickets online. The response was so enthusiastic that the museum’s online ticketing system became paralyzed for a period of time. All tickets for special night event at the Palace Museum sold out in seconds.

Other enthusiastic visitors climbed the mountain in Jingshan Park, located right behind the Palace Museum, to take pictures of the rehearsals for the event.

From reality TV shows to cultural and creative products, including the design and production of special cosmetics, the Palace Museum has become a sensation in China and even around the world in recent years, as it is attempting to change its image as a mysterious and aging relic to a popular cultural icon.

Thanks to the increasing influence of the museum’s intellectual property, sales of cultural and creative products by the museum reached 1.5 billion yuan ($221 million) in 2017, according to Shan Jixiang, curator of the Palace Museum.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Yang Yang, Jiang Jie)

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