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Chinese Festivals | Lantern Festival

Updated on January 15, 2013

Lantern Festival is One of Many Chinese Festivals

With all the Chinese Festivals on the yearly calendar, it's a wonder there's any work done here. Lantern Festival marks the end of New Year festivities and is colourful and noisy, with bright red lanterns, fireworks, garlands and great food. The Lantern Festival is known in China as Shang Yuan Festival or Yuan Xiao Jie. Some Chinese refer to it as Little New Year as it marks the end of the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month, and is a gazetted public holiday in China.

Image: Wikimedia | Lens Updated: January 16th, 2013 @ 5:20 am Beijing time.

There's Also Another Lantern Festival Held in Mid-Autumn

This lens is about the ending of Spring Festival on 15th day of the 1st lunar calendar month.

Chinese Lantern Festival

... dates back to the Han Dynasty

2008 Taiwan Lantern Festival
2008 Taiwan Lantern Festival

Read About Chinese Lantern Festival on Wikipedia

Colourful festival in Chinese history marking end of Spring Festival...

The Lantern Festival or Yuan Xiao Festival or Shang Yuan Festival in China or Chap Goh Meh Festival in Malaysia and Singapore or "Tet Thurng Nguyên" or "Tet Nguyên Tiêu" in Vietnam; is a festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar year in the Chinese calendar, the last day of the Lunar Chinese New Year celebration. It is not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is sometimes also known as the "Lantern Festival" in locations such as Singapore, Malaysia. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns. It officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations.

read the rest of the Wikipedia article

The Jade Emperor
The Jade Emperor

The Ancient Legend of Chinese Lantern Festival!

The "Heavenly Jade Emperor" became angry and sought vengeance...

According to an ancient Chinese legend, the "Heavenly Jade Emperor" became angry and wanted to destroy a town on earth when his favourite bird was accidentally killed by a hunter. A fairy heard of this, and warned the people to light lanterns all over the town on that appointed day. All the people in the town followed the instructions of the fairy.

The emperor looked down on the town from the sky and it appeared that it was ablaze! He was satisfied and left. From that day on, people celebrated the anniversary of their deliverance by carrying lanterns through the streets on the night of the first full moon of the year.

Image Source: Public Domain

Buying Lucky Trinkets on Sale in Fucheng, Haikou - People buying trinkets to celebrate Lantern Festival, February 2006...

Fucheng (Haikou) Lantern Festival Trinkets
Fucheng (Haikou) Lantern Festival Trinkets

Each year, at the end of Spring Festival, the people of the Fucheng corner of Haikou celebrate Lantern Festival with family and friends. A huge area is cordoned off from regular traffic, and thousands of people get together to enjoy an evening meal. Afterwards, they roam around the streets meeting old friends and exchanging fluorescent garlands and hand out trinkets to the children. All this happens in a warm community spirit, underneath the colourful glow of the paper lanterns. It is a great way for the community to get together and enjoy themselves prior to going back to their normal lives at the end of Spring Festival.

Tangyuan is a Traditional Food For Lantern Festival - These small balls of sweetness are made from glutinous rice flour...

Home made Tangyuan, a typical Chinese food.
Home made Tangyuan, a typical Chinese food.

Image: Public Domain.

Tangyuan rice balls are traditionally eaten during lantern Festival. They are made from glutinous rice flour, are of various sizes, and are sometimes filled with sesame paste, red bean paste, chopped peanuts and sugar or rock candy made from sugar cane.

What Are The Origins of Chinese Lantern Festival?

Chinese Lantern Festival Crowd in Fucheng
Chinese Lantern Festival Crowd in Fucheng

Chinese Lantern Festival is held on the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar calendar. Lantern Festival is also known as Shang Yuan Festival, or Yuan Night. There are many theories about the origin of the Chinese Lantern Festival, but these three theories are the most commonly held:

Lantern Festival Origins

1. The Lantern Festival was proclaimed by the Han Emperor, Wudi, in 104 BCE. It was to be an important celebration that would last through the night.

2. The people celebrated the Lantern Festival on the first full moon night of the year also called the "Shang Yuan Festival";

3. The Lantern Festival originated from the "Torch Festival". The Han people in the countryside hold aloft torches to drive out the worm beast, and they hope that they can reduce pests and have a good harvest.

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Any Thoughts About Chinese Lantern Festival? - Please leave your comments about this Chinese festival here...

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    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 5 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Beautiful. Can't wait to see the Lantern Festival that will be here in St. Louis this summer.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Cool Lens!

    • drs2biz lm profile image

      David Schroeter 6 years ago from St Kilda, Victoria, Australia

      @Laura Schofield: Thanks for visiting Laura. It was great to see you call in to this lens as it has not had much traffic yet.

    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 6 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      I notice there's a while til 2011's lantern festival. We've got a great Chinatown here in Chicago so I've favorited this lens and will revisit it closer to the date: I would love to celebrate this! Maybe we'll catch the mid-autumn fest too..