25 September 2023

Candles make light of sister-city link

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A candle festival to celebrate the 25th year of Canberra’s sister-city relationship with the Japanese city of Nara is to be held this weekend in the Lennox Gardens behind the Hyatt hotel.

To be hosted at the Nara Peace Park on Saturday, the festival will offer a vibrant and family friendly atmosphere, complemented by a variety of Japanese arts and crafts, such as lantern making, ikebana and drumming workshops.

Officially recognising the relationship of peace and goodwill, the annual festival is based on a much larger candle festival, the Nara Tokae, which is held in Nara.

This year the Mayor of Nara and a delegation from the Nara Tokae will attend the event and create a second display of 1,000 candles, paying tribute to Nara and Canberra and the 25th anniversary.

This second display will take the total number of candles at the event to 3,000, forming a rich centrepiece and symbolising the strength and importance of the sister city relationship.

Japan’s Ambassador to Australia, Sumio Kusaka said the longstanding partnership between Canberra and Nara was invaluable.

“It is heart-warming to see Japanese culture celebrated so beautifully in Canberra,” Mr Kusaka said.

“The Nara Candle Festival allows us to appreciate the prosperous relationship between Nara and Canberra over the past 25 years.”

Japanese inspired performers, including martial arts and sumo wrestlers, and local schools groups will entertain the crowds from 4pm onwards. The festival will conclude at 9pm.

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