Chinese Lantern Festival

 Chinese Lantern Festival

The 15th day of the 1st lunar month is the Chinese Lantern Festival because the first lunar month is called yuan-month and in the ancient times people called night Xiao. It is traditionally a time for family reunion. The 15th day is the first night to see a full moon. So the day is also called Yuan Xiao Festival in China .
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. At this time, people will try to solve the puzzles on the lanterns and eat yuanxiao (glutinous rice ball) and get all their families united in the joyful atmosphere.
Chinese started to celebrate the Lantern Festival since the Han Dynasty (206BC-221AD), and then it became popular during the Tang and Song dynasties. This is a festival for people to have fun. 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 .people will go to streets with a variety of lanterns under the full moon, watching Lion or Dragon Dance, playing Chinese riddles and games, enjoying the typical food called Yuan Xiao and setting off firecrackers. What’s more , people will try to solve the puzzles on the lanterns and eat yuanxiao (元宵)(glutinous rice ball) and get all their families united in the joyful atmosphere.
Another important part of the Lantern Festival or Yuan Xiao Festival is eating small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour. It is said that this custom originated in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC).Made of sticky rice flour filled with sweet stuffing and round in shape, it symbolizes family unity, completeness and happiness. The fillings inside the dumplings or Yuan Xiao are either sweet or salty. Sweet fillings are made of sugar, Walnuts, sesame, osmanthus flowers, rose petals, sweetened tangerine peel, bean paste, or jujube paste. The Chinese people want everything to have a happy ending, so eating glue rice balls on the night when the moon gets full for the first time in a year indicates people’s wish for a happy reunion and a peaceful life.
There are many different 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 us that it was a time to worship Taiyi, the God of Heaven in ancient times. The belief was that the God of Heaven controlled the destiny of the human world. He had sixteen dragons at his beck and call and he decided when to inflict drought, storms, famine or pestilenceupon human beings. Beginning with Qinshihuang, the first emperor to unite the country, all subsequent emperors ordered splendid ceremonies each year. The emperor would ask Taiyi to bring favorable weather and good health to him and his people. Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty directed special attention to this event. In 104 BC, he proclaimed it one of the most important celebrations and the ceremony would last throughout the night.
Nowadays, most people in China’s rural areas still hold to these traditional celebrations. However, as the pace of life continues to quicken in the cities, urban residents have taken up new ways to celebrate the Chinese traditional New Year.

Check Also

By Train

Trains cover the 182 kilometers from Hong Kong in about two hours, including a stop …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *