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元宵节 The Lantern Festival

05-24-2010 15:59 BJT

The Lantern Festival is celebrated everywhere on January 15th of the lunar calendar, right after the Spring Festival.

Traditionally, the Lantern Festival is a part of the Spring Festival.

This day is always the first full moon in the lunar New Year.

Across China, people celebrate by hanging up lanterns and festoons, attending dancing and singing performances, making “Yuan Xiao” or sweet rice dumplings and lighting fireworks.

This is also a continuation of the Spring Festival celebration.

On the Lantern Festival night, the moon illuminates the dark sky while many lanterns shine bright colors on the earth.

The traditions of viewing decorative lanterns on this night began more than two thousand years ago in the Western Han Dynasty.

In the earlier times, those beautiful lanterns were only seen in the imperial palaces.

Slowly it evolved into a celebration on the grand scale for ordinary folks everywhere.

A few days before the lantern festival, people begin gathering oiled paper, silk cloths, bamboo sticks and flower to make all types of lanterns.

Some people go to the lively streets to pick a personal favorite.

The lanterns sometimes come in a series about certain folklore, holiday customs, or lucky mascots.

The Lantern Festival is also a romantic holiday.

In feudal society, young girls were not allowed to go out freely.

But on the night of the Lantern Festival, they were allowed to view the lantern lights in groups.

Sometimes couples would go on dates strolling down the streets lit with lantern lights.

Today people still invite others to view lanterns together.

Across China, the Lantern Festival is celebrated in many different styles.

In places near water, people put Lotus Lanterns in the river to let them flow down stream, carrying the loss they feel for the relatives that have passed away.

In the North, as traditional customs combined with modern science and technology, there evolved the Ice Lantern Festival.

The combination of the ice and snow with colored lights, carvings, designs, and special scenery yield a spectacular winter paradise.

The Lantern Riddle is a special word-game played by the Chinese people.

The Chinese people not only craft many types of beautiful lanterns for the others to appreciate, but also create many interesting riddles.

The traditional riddles are written on the lanterns.

Today, many people glue a slip of paper with the riddle at the bottom of the lanterns for the viewers to solve.

Those who solve the riddles correctly will receive a prize from the riddle’s creator.

Just like China’s other traditional holidays, the Lantern Festival also has its own special dish —“Yuan Xiao”, or sweet dumpling soup.

Although the sweet dumplings differ in name and recipe from the North and South, they are always made with glutinous rice flour as the outside.

The filling is usually composed of different kinds of fruit kernels and sugar.

The sweet dumplings are always round and white, as it represents the moon on the night of the Lantern Festival.

Sweet Dumplings Soup


lantern riddles


Editor:Shi Taoyang |Source:

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