Thursday, 22 February 2018
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August 2017


Painted lanterns made of fine silk, straw, bamboo or paper were once used as lamps in ancient China but today they are decorations, mainly associated with festivals. So what better way to celebrate the 2017 Belfast Mela than by creating your own version of the Chinese lantern?
In China lanterns come in all shapes and sizes. They are often red as, in China, that is considered a lucky colour and a symbol of celebration. Sometimes people paint their lanterns with patterns, the signs of the Chinese zodiac or exotic fantasy animals such as the dragon or phoenix. Sometimes lanterns even feature riddles and, in China, if you can guess the answer to the riddle, you may earn yourself a small prize!

This simple template will get you started making a Mela Lantern, but you can personalise your lantern with your own ideas and lots of bright colours. You may want to glue on sequins or glitter to make your lantern really sparkle … you may like to attach your lantern to a long stick so that you can carry it around with you … you may even choose to make named lanterns for your friends and family.
Chinese hanging lanterns are believed to bring good luck and prosperity so lots of people hang them in the entrance of their home or in their shops and businesses. They have become a symbol of China, recognised around the world, and we are hoping that we’ll see lots of home-made Chinese lanterns at the Belfast Mela on Sunday August 27 as families come together for a festival that celebrates culture from right around the world.
Get cutting out and painting now and your Belfast Mela Chinese Lantern could add extra colour and fun to our global festival day!

You will need:
• One sheet red paper, letter size or A4
• One sheet gold paper, letter size or A4
• Pencil and ruler
• Scissors
• Glue
• Decorative items: glitter, beads, sequins

Step 1:
Fold the red paper in half. Use the pencil and ruler to trace lines perpendicular to the folded side about 3/4" apart and leaving 3/4" at the top. Use the scissors to cut through the lines, this will form the bars in the middle of the lantern.

Step 2:
Roll the gold paper lengthwise to form a tube, this will be the centre of the lantern. Secure it with some glue.

Step 3: Open the red paper. Match the red paper cut out with the gold tube at one end. Secure with glue.

Step 4:
Match the other side leaving some of the gold tube visible depending on how tall or short you want your lantern to be. Secure with glue.

Step 5:
Cut any excess gold tube at the bottom or just leave it as part of the decoration.

Step 6:
You can use the excess gold strip to make the handle. Glue on both sides at the top. Ready!

Belfast Mela is the biggest event of its kind in Northern Ireland, known for its amazing atmosphere and the vibrant, high energy programme which brings the world to Belfast – and showcases Belfast to the world.

This year the perfect family day out will include everything from performances from international acts on the main stage and a World of Music & Dance Showcase to a Little Bollywood experience especially created for babies, toddlers and young children plus a Fantasy Forest designed to cast its magic spell over all ages. Worldwide cuisine will tickle the family tastebuds, while a Bazaar Marquee will provide retail therapy with a global dimension.
Visit for event news, to book online with secure special early discount and to beat the queues on the day. Advance tickets cost: Adult £6/ Child £5 or family of four £15.

Tickets on the day are priced £7/£6 & £16.

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