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A glimpse into Lantern Festival traditions


02-11-2017 11:13 BJT

The Lantern Festival marks the finale of the Spring Festival, and with it, comes rich Chinese traditions and joyful celebrations. Here's more about how this festive occasion is observed.

The 15th day is the first night to see a full moon in the Chinese lunar year.  In ancient Chinese, "Yuan" literally means "first" and "xiao" refers to "night", hence, the Lantern Festival has a second name called Yuan Xiao Festival. 

A traditional delicacy also named Yuanxiao has developed for this occasion. They're glutinous rice balls with sweet fillings inside. On the day of the festival, people usually get all their families united at the dinner with Yuanxiao, a must-have dish. 

To the minds of the ancient people, 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.  Children go out at night carrying paper lanterns, many of which are animal-shaped. People would also go to parks or temples and solve riddles on the lanterns. In the modern days, more fancy lights such as LEDs and lasers have come to dazzle the night of the festival, in addition to the traditional ones.   

There are many beliefs about the origin of the Lantern Festival. But one thing for sure is that it had something to do with religious worship. One legend tells that it was a time to worship Taiyi, and asked the god to bring favorable weather and good health to people. 

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