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Lantern Festival

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Date: 15th of the first lunar month
Place: Nationwide
Activities: Lantern expositions, garden parties, fireworks displays, and folk dances

Chinese Lantern Festival
Chinese Lantern Festival
Lantern Show on Xian City Wall
Lantern Show on Xian City Wall

Lantern Festival is the last day of Spring Festival, and thus marks the end of the festival. During this day, red lanterns can be seen everywhere and fireworks displays shining in the sky. It is at this moment that the most types of delicate and splendidly lanterns are exhibited. The Chinese make merry to say good-bye to the festival with much reluctance. 

Appreciating lanterns and riddle-guessing are two important activities. Temple fairs are held to celebrate it. Those living the countries may go to the city center in groups to feel the festive atmosphere. For little girls, they will get lanterns on the day or several days before the right day. In the evening, they get their lanterns alight and lift them in the streets. What about boys? Aha, they are itching to let off their fireworks. 

Every family eats sweet dumplings (Tangyuan or Yuanxiao, a kind of glutinous rice ball stuffed with beans, sugar, and other sweets), which is a symbol of family reunion, unity, affection, and happiness. The sweet dumplings of northern and southern China are different. In northern China it is named Yuanxiao which is made by rolling a small piece of sugar filling in glutinous rice flour to a ball; in southern China it is called Tangyuan and is made by filling sugars into a small lump of glutinous dough. The sweet dumplings can be boiled, fried and steamed.

 Legend about Lantern Festival

Long long ago, people killed each beast they met as the ferocious animals hurt people and livestock. One divine bird got lost and fell down to the human's world. People thought it was dangerous and killed it. The Heavenly God was so angry when heard about the death of the bird, thus he ordered to punish those people by setting fires and burning them and their houses on January 15th of the Lunar Calendar. The daughter of Heavenly God was so kind that she secretly warned people. The frightened people then held meetings to discuss how the face the coming catastrophe. An old man said that they could hang red lanterns and set lots of firecrackers in front houses, making villages and towns full of "flame" and smoke, so the heavenly god would believe there were real fires. The old man's idea saved people, and, from then on, people hang lanterns and set fireworks to commemorate the day.

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