This Monday marks China’s Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar, and the last day of the Lunar New Year celebrations.
Today the festival isn’t as popular as it used to be, and many people have work responsibilities. However traditionally on this day, people would carry paper lanterns at night to fairs and would enjoy lantern shows and play games that involved solving riddles displayed on the lanterns.
China celebrates the Lantern Festival
THE LANTERN FAIR
In Shanghai, the Yu Garden (Yu Yuan) lantern fair is one of the biggest events in the city. The fair displays not only traditional lanterns but also impressive high-tech light shows. Other celebrations include local operas, martial arts, drumming, and lion dances.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival are lanterns in the shape of monkeys marking the Year of the Monkey. The Yuyuan Garden will also hold a parade on February 21.
EATING SWEET RICE DUMPLINGS
Many people enjoy eating traditional sweet rice dumplings, known as Yuan Xiao or Tang Yuan in Chinese, to mark the Lantern Festival.
Made of sticky rice flour, and filled with sweet stuffing and round in shape, the dumplings symbolize family unity, completeness, and happiness for the year ahead.
The sweet fillings vary but can be made of sugar, walnuts, sesame, osmanthus flowers, rose petals, and jujube paste.
The Lantern Festival is also a time when family members gather at night to enjoy the full moon. A spectacular full moon is expected at 2:20 a.m. local time on February 23.
As the lantern festival closes, so do the two-week-long celebrations of the Lunar New Year.
Story by CCTV New.