Lantern Festival

Topics: Chinese New Year, China, Lantern Festival Pages: 1 (275 words) Published: February 17, 2014

Lantern Festival The Lantern Festival (Shangyuan) is a traditional Chinese festival, which is on the 15th of the first month of Chinese New Year and the first full moon night which symbolizes the coming of spring. It may be regarded as the last day of the Spring Festival. The start of this festival marks the end of the celebrations of the Chinese New Year. The Lantern Festival is regarded as a good day for family gatherings. An old custom from china is people on that night will lighten up fancy lanterns and go outside to appreciate the moon, set off fireworks, and eat rice glue balls (Yuanxiao or Tangyuan). The tradition of appreciating lanterns on the Lantern Festival originates from the Eastern Han Dynasty, which has a bearing on the introduction of Buddhism into China at that time. It is a Buddhist convention that the monks would visit temples and lighten up lanterns to show respect to Buddha on Jan 15. Therefore, Emperors of that dynasty, who were determined to promote Buddhism, ordered people to lighten up lanterns in both palaces and temples on that night to show respect to Buddha. Additionally, civilians were all requested to hang up lanterns on that night, which is why the festival is called "Lantern Festival". In the Song Dynasty, the custom of guessing riddles written on lanterns on Lantern Festival came into being and people at that time wrote riddles on paper strips and then pasted them on the colorful lanterns for others to appreciate and guess. In the Qing Dynasty, fireworks were set off to add fun, and the Lantern Festival by then witnessed a record-breaking grand occasion.
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