The Chinese Lantern Festival

A time for beautiful lanterns of various types. Besides the traditional round, red lanterns there are also elaborate designs, usually constructed in a similar way - with silk over a wire frame.


As early as the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 25), it had become a festival of great cultural significance. The Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month, which will be late February or early March in the Gregorian calendar.

In 2015, the Lantern Festival falls on March 5th. Don't miss it !

The Lantern Festival, also known as Yuanxiao Festival or Shangyuan Festival, is a traditional Chinese holiday celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar, marking the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Here's some information about this colorful and joyous festival:

History and Origins:
Ancient Roots: The origins of the Lantern Festival can be traced back over 2,000 years to the Western Han Dynasty. It has evolved over time, incorporating elements from various cultural and religious traditions.

Taoist and Buddhist Influences: Initially, the festival had Taoist roots, with people making offerings to Taiyi, the god of heaven, to pray for good fortune and avert disasters. Later, during the Tang Dynasty, it also became associated with Buddhism, as monks would light lanterns to worship the Buddha.

Customs and Traditions:
Lantern Displays: The most iconic feature of the Lantern Festival is the elaborate lantern displays. These lanterns come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, often depicting animals, flowers, mythical creatures, and scenes from Chinese folklore.

Guessing Lantern Riddles: Another popular tradition is guessing lantern riddles (???, c?i d?ngm). Riddles are written on strips of paper and attached to the lanterns. Visitors try to solve the riddles, adding an element of intellectual challenge and fun to the festivities.

Eating Yuanxiao: Yuanxiao (??), also known as tangyuan (??), are sweet glutinous rice dumplings stuffed with fillings like sesame paste, sweet bean paste, or peanuts. Eating yuanxiao symbolizes family unity and prosperity.

Dragon and Lion Dances: In some regions, dragon and lion dances are performed during the Lantern Festival, accompanied by drums, cymbals, and firecrackers. These lively performances are believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.

Modern Celebrations:
Lantern Festivals: Throughout China and in Chinese communities worldwide, Lantern Festivals are held with grand lantern displays, cultural performances, and festive activities.

Tourist Attractions: Many tourist attractions host special Lantern Festival events, featuring intricate lantern installations, performances, and culinary delights.

Family Gatherings: Like other major Chinese festivals, the Lantern Festival is a time for families to come together, share meals, and enjoy each other's company.

Innovation and Modernization: While traditional customs are still observed, the Lantern Festival has also evolved with modern technology, incorporating LED lights, laser shows, and multimedia displays into the celebrations.

Overall, the Chinese Lantern Festival is a vibrant and symbolic celebration that brings communities together to welcome the new year with light, joy, and hope for the future.

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