The Lantern Festival traditionally marks the end of the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) period. Celebrated on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month, which would be Friday, February 26 in 2021. People will go out to look at the moon, send up flying lanterns, fly bright drones, have a meal, and enjoy time together with family and friends in parks and natural areas. After the Lantern Festival, Chinese New Year taboos are no longer in effect, and all New Year decorations are taken down.
The Origin of Lantern Festival. It goes back to 2000 years ago. In the beginning of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220), Emperor Hanmingdi was an advocate of Buddhism. He heard that some monks lit lanterns in the temples to show respect to Buddha on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Therefore, he ordered that all the temples, households, and royal palaces should light lanterns on that evening. This Buddhist custom gradually became a grand festival among the people. Lantern Festival Facts -Date: Lunar calendar month 1 day 15 (February 26, 2021) -Importance: ends the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) -Celebrations: enjoying lanterns, lantern riddles, eating tangyuan a.k.a. yuanxiao (ball dumplings in soup), lion dances, dragon dances, etc. -History: about 2,000 years -Greeting: Happy Lantern Festival! 元宵节快乐！Yuánxiāojié kuàilè! /ywen-sshyaoww-jyeah kwhy-luh/ How Do Chinese Celebrate the Lantern Festival? As China is a vast country with a long history and diverse cultures, Lantern Festival customs and activities vary regionally including lighting and enjoying (floating, fixed, held, and flying) lanterns, appreciating the bright full moon, setting off fireworks, flying drones, guessing riddles written on lanterns, eatingtangyuan, lion dances, dragon dances, and walking on stilts.
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