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Beijing’s Forbidden City Puts on Spectacular Light Show for Lantern Festival

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The Palace Museum in the heart of Beijing, more commonly referred to as The Forbidden City, recently decided to extend its opening hours for two nights only — the first time it’s been possible for the public to officially visit the historical site at night in the 94 years since the Museum was founded.

The excitement was such that when registration was opened, the website responsible for allocating the limited number of free spots available crashed. Suffice to say there were plenty of people (us included) who missed out on the chance to visit. Fortunately, thanks to a mass of photographers, we’ve not had to wait long to see the results of the former Ming and Qing dynasty palace complex all lit up in honor of Lantern Festival, the traditional culmination of Chinese New Year festivities taking place on the 15th day of the new lunar year.

Here are some of our favorite Instagram posts so far, along with a video from the first of the two nights (February 18):

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上瓦

A post shared by Fang Fei (@feibojun) on

Video from Beijing Evening News (hosted on Tencent Video, may be slow loading outside of China):

Cover photo: Beijing Evening News

RADII Staff
RADII (rā'dē-ī') is an independent platform of artists, writers and creators dedicated to sharing vibrant stories from the rarely explored sides of new China.