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Lantern Festival celebration in Beijing

02-18-2011 08:57 BJT Special Report:2011 Spring Festival |

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Lantern Festival falls on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month of the new year. It's one of China's oldest traditions and has been celebrated since the Western Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago. Our reporter Zhang Song experienced one Lantern Festival in Beijing and shared it with visitors from home and abroad.

It's the last chance for fireworks in Beijing. Yuanxiao Festival or better known as the Lantern Festival wraps up the celebration for China's lunar new year, or Spring Festival, the biggest traditional festival throughout the year for Chinese people.

When asking people about "must-do's" of the Lantern Festival, most responses include going out to watch the lanterns and eating sweet dumplings.

Chinese people gather at a lantern fair to mark the 15th day of the Lunar Festival
celebrations in Beijing on February 15, 2011 (Getty Images)

With a history of some 17 centuries, the sweet dumpling is named after the festival itself: "Yuanxiao" in northern China, while in the south it's called "Tangyuan". The process of making it is like making a snowball. It's time consuming and most urbanites rarely make any, but buy some to cook.

A Chinese girl poses amid lanterns being readied for the 15th day of the Lunar Festival
celebrations in Beijing (Getty Images)

The red lanterns, the leading stars of the Lantern Festival, light up the night of Beijing. Wang Yanmin, a veteran inheritor of traditional royal lanterns of Beijing presents his hand-made crafts to visitors in a popular shopping plaza in downtown Beijing.

Zhang Song, Beijing, said, "To experience an authentic Lantern Festival, you have to take part in solving the lantern riddles. So I have one prepared for you. It's bright and light and inside it's hot and fiery. Need another clue? "

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