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【网络中国节·元宵】Lantern Festival, A Feast of Lanterns

Pub Date:23-02-03 17:03 Source:cnanhui.org

The Chinese traditional festival - the Lantern Festival, falls on the 15th of the first month of the lunar calendar. This day has the first full moon night of the year, implying a fresh start and the return of spring. People celebrating the Lantern Festival is also a continuation of the celebration of Spring Festival.

The custom of lighting lanterns during the Lantern Festival began in the Han Dynasty and was originally for sacrificial ceremonies. In the Sui Dynasty, a grand lantern show was held every year to entertain envoys from various countries. This custom had become established in the middle of the Tang Dynasty. Emperor Xuanzong once ordered thousands of lanterns to be lit for three nights. In the Northern Song Dynasty, the lighting time was increased to five nights, and lantern riddles also began to appear in the Song Dynasty. In the Qing Dynasty, from "lighting the lanterns on the 13th day of the first lunar month" to "putting out the light of the lanterns on the 18th day of the first lunar month", the whole New Year festival was considered to have come to an end.

China has a vast territory and a long history, so the customs of the Lantern Festival are also different across the country. Among them, eating "Yuanxiao," the sweet dumplings made of glutinous rice flour, appreciating the beautiful lanterns, andenjoyingthe lion dance, etc., are several common and essential folk customs of the festival. In Beijing, there is a tradition of holding the Shangyuan lantern show. In Anhui, playing on the swings, carrying lanterns, and throwing down torches are the three significant customs of the Lantern Festival. In Shaanxi, there is also a unique custom of releasing sky lanterns.


With society's development, the Lantern Festival's customs have already changed greatly, but it is still an important traditional festival among Chinese folks. The Lantern Festival is celebrated wherever there are Chinese people. It integrates the wisdom and good wishes of the Chinese people and is a cultural heritage about happiness.

Editor:Zheng Chen

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