The Lantern Festival (also known as the Yuanxiao Festival or Shangyuan Festival in China; Chap Goh Meh Festival in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore; Yuen Siu Festival in Hong Kong, and “Tết Thượng Nguyên” or “Tết Nguyên Tiêu” in Vietnam); is a festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar year in the Chinese calendar, the last day of the lunisolar Chinese New Year celebration. It is not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is sometimes also known as the “Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie)” in locations such as Singapore and Malaysia. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns (simplified Chinese: 猜灯谜; traditional Chinese: 猜燈謎; pinyin: cāidēngmí). It officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations.
The 15th day of the first lunar month, the first full moon after the Spring Festival, is the occasion for the Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie). It is customary to eat special sweet dumplings called yuanxiao and enjoy displayed lanterns during this festival. Yuanxiao, round balls made of glutinous rice flour stuffed with sugar fillings, symbolize reunion.
The custom of enjoying lanterns at this time of the year dates back to the first century, and has continued to be popular throughout China up to the present day. On this festive night many cities hold lantern fairs to display many exotic and sometimes weirdly shaped multi-colored lanterns.
In rural areas the local people gather together and enjoy themselves as spectators and participants setting off fireworks, walking on stilts, performing with dragon lanterns, dancing the yangge and other folk dances and playing on swings.
The Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie), also called Yuan Xiao Jie, was celebrated at the fifteen day of the first lunar month. It marks the end of New Year’s celebrations, also the first time to see a full moon of that year in Lunar Calendar.
Legend of the Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie)
According to Chinese ancient legend, Heavenly Jade Emperor angered and wanted to destroy a town on earth as his favorite bird was killed by a hunter by accident. A kind fairy heard of this vengeance and warned the people to light lanterns all over the town on that appointed day. All the people at the town did that. The emperor looked down the town from the sky and it seemed that it had blazed. He was satisfied and left. From that day on, people celebrated the anniversary of their deliverance by carried lanterns through the streets at the first full moon night of the year
lanterns showOrigin of Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie)
Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie) was originated at Han Dynasty, with the Buddhism flourishing in China by then. The Emperor then ordered to light lanterns in palace and temples to show his respect to Buddha at 15th of the first lunar month. This practice was expanded to other parts of China along the years.
In Kaifeng, during the Northern Song dynasty (960-1126), lanterns were carried by dancers concealed inside dragons, as in Lunar New Year’s parades today. Everyone out on the streets drinking, eating, and enjoying music, theater and acrobatics; some carried lanterns in the long pole.
The Lantern Festiva (Yuan Xiao Jie)l cerebration reached its peak at Ming Dynasty, lasting for ten days. Downtown Area was set aside for displaying the lanterns. Dengshikou in Beijing was the place for selling and buying lanterns on that day.
lenterns festivalCelebration of Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie)
Watching lanterns and eating Tang Yuan are the most important celebrations on this day. Lanterns of various shapes and sizes are hung in the streets, attracting countless visitors at night. It is said that the brilliance of the artificial lights almost outshone the light of full moon. Some children would carried their lanterns in the long pole, and have fun with the whole family. “Guessing lantern riddles” is an essential part for lantern watching. The puzzles or riddles were written on the lanterns of just pasted on them. If one can solve that puzzles, a little gift would be given. Nowadays, lantern show is still available in many big cities like Temple of Earth and Heaven in Beijing and Chenghuang Temple in Shanghai.
Tang Yuan or Yuanxiao is sticky rice dumplings, meaning reunion, harmony and happiness for the family. It is the special food on lantern festival (Yuan Xiao Jie), made of glutinous rice flour filled with stuffing in round shape. Most Chinese people do and eat on this specific day and kinds of stuffing like sugar, Walnuts, sesame, rose petals, sweetened tangerine peel, bean paste, or jujube paste include. Yuanxiao is easy to make, shaping the dough of the rice flours into balls first, making a hold by finger and inserting the fillings, then closing the hole and smooth by rolling between hands.
There are other celebrations to do at the daytime; performances like dragon lantern dance, lion dance, and land boat dance are always on stage. Fireworks form another scene at night time.
Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie) Event Detail
Event Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie)
Fairs & Festivals
Yuan Xiao Jie – Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations
Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie) Date
Feb 28, 2010
Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie) Place
Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie) Time
7pm – 10pm
Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie) Description
Join us as we say goodbye to Chunjie with plenty of colourful cultural street performances and a spectacular display of live firecrackers and fireworks!
Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie) Official Website: http://www.visitsingapore.com
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