Today, the 9th of February 2009 is The Lantern Festival!
The Lantern Festival is a traditional Chinese festival, which is falls on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month, marking the end of the celebrations of the Chinese New Year.
Lantern Festival also called Yuan Xiao Festival in China, because the first lunar month is called ‘Yuan’ month and in the ancient times people refers ‘Xiao’ as night. The 15th day is the first night to see a full moon, hence the day is also called Yuan Xiao Festival. According to the Chinese tradition, at the very beginning of a new year, when there is a bright full moon hanging in the sky, there should be thousands of colorful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate. Till today, the lantern festival is still held each year around the country. Lanterns of various shapes and sizes are hung in the streets, attracting countless visitors.
“Guessing lantern riddles” is an essential part of the Festival. Lantern owners write riddles on a piece of paper and post them on the lanterns. If visitors have solutions to the riddles, they can pull the paper out and go to the lantern owners to check their answer. If they are right, they will get a little gift.
Yuan xiao, (glutinous rice ball) is also a desert eaten on this day. Yuan xiao also has another name, ‘tang yuan’. It is small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour. Tang yuan can be boiled, fried or steamed. It tastes sweet and delicious. What’s more, tang yuan in Chinese has a similar pronunciation with “tuan yuan”, meaning reunion. So people eat them to denote union, harmony and happiness for the family.
During the day of the Lantern Festival Dragon and Lion dances are held in many areas. In the north an art form known as Yangge, which consists of people dancing, and performing acrobatics on very high stills can be seen on the day of Lantern Festival. These performances are a great way to build up to the excitement of the evening.
Lantern Festival is people’s favorite time of the year. It is a time for family and friends. It is a time of giving, family, and a celebration of what it is to be Chinese.
元 宵 节 Lantern Festival n.
猜 灯 谜 Guessing lantern riddles n.
元 宵 Yuan Xiao n.
汤 圆 Tang Yuan n.