元宵节 The Lantern Festival
The Lantern Festival
The 15th day of the first lunar month is the traditional Lantern Festival (Yuanxiao in Chinese). The name comes from the fact that the first lunar month is also called Yuanyue and xiao means night. The night of the 15th day of the first lunar month marks the appearance of the first full moon.
It's a tradition to admire lanterns at the festival. The custom started from the Han Dynasty, and has a history of more than 2,000 years. On the night, every place is decorated with lanterns and colorful streamers and there is a bustling atmosphere. As night falls, people go in crowds to admire the colorful lanterns: palace lanterns, wall lamps, figure lanterns, flower lanterns, revolving horse lanterns, animal lanterns, and toy lanterns, of all hues and colors, forming a sea of flickering light and color. Some lanterns have riddles on them, which encourage people to compete to find the answer.
It is also a traditional custom to eat rice dumplings at this time. As early as the Song Dynasty over 1,000 years ago, there was such kind of food. The rice dumpling is a round ball of glutinous rice flour filled with a stuffing made of sugar and different kernels. After it is boiled, it is very fragrant, sweet and tasty. Since it is eaten on the Lantern Festival, people call it "Yuanxiao". The Chinese people hope that everything is satisfactory ("Yuanman" in Chinese), and to eat rice dumplings on the first night with a full moon in a year is to wish that family members will remain united, harmonious, happy and satisfied.