It’s a beautiful local tradition that celebrates peace and goodwill — and this weekend you can see 2,000 shimmering candles light up Lennox Gardens.
Have no idea what we’re talking about? For the uninitiated let us introduce you to the Canberra Nara Candle Festival, an annual celebration of the now 30-year-strong Canberra Nara Sister City relationship.
Based on a much larger candle festival (the Nara ‘Tokae’, held in Nara, Japan) the Canberra Nara Candle Festival has been held annually in Canberra Nara Peace Park since 2003, when a delegation of citizens from Nara participated in an informal ceremony to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Sister City relationship
This year marks the very special 30th anniversary and to celebrate, on Saturday 4 November from 4 pm, Nara Peace Park at the Lennox Gardens will be coming to life with a breathtaking display of countless candles.
But that’s not the only thing that we’re excited about.
From a cosplay competition to Taiko drumming, martial arts demonstrations, origami, and calligraphy, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and try your hand at a range of activities.
A highlight? The Official Ceremony and Lantern Procession is not to be missed, with a delegation of over 40 students from Nara University High School in a lantern procession moving through the event and concluding in the lighting of a large Kasuga lantern (weighing five tonnes) and a large Yukimi lantern (weighing three tonnes). You’ll also have the opportunity to strike the Rotary Peace Bell from 4 pm until 9 pm, or try on a kimono.
And of course, it’s not a festival without food.
With a range of delicious Japanese food and drinks stalls open during the event, over 15 local Japanese restaurants and eateries are onboard, offering everything from homemade dumplings to sashimi takeaway. And that’s just the beginning.
Promising to be fun for the whole family, with a free shuttle bus running between 3:40 pm and 9:30 pm within the National Triangle to the entrance of Lennox Gardens, if you’re yet to explore the stunning Nara Peace Park, now is the time.
See you there?
What: Canberra Nara Candle Festival.
When: Saturday 4 November, 4 pm – 9 pm.
Where: Canberra Nara Peace Park in Lennox Gardens, Flynn Drive Yarralumla.
Feature image: Martin Ollman.