- Lantern Festival marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations
- It is a festival with great significance
The Lantern Festival is one of the most loved festivals of China which is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar, during the full moon. This year the festival is being celebrated on February 15. Also known as Shangyuan Festival, it marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. During the festival, people light paper lanterns and children solve riddles on the lanterns.
The origin of the festival dates back to Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE–25 CE), a time when Buddhism was growing in China. In the early days, young people were chaperoned in the streets in hopes of finding love. Matchmakers used to pair couples.
The brightest lanterns were symbolic of good luck and hope. As time has passed, the festival no longer has such implications in most of Mainland China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong. Now there are fireworks in the city. People write messages of hope on their lanterns or paint pictures of animals like pandas and cats.
On this day, eating tangyuan is considered auspicious as it may bring the family harmony, happiness and luck in the new year. It is a glutinous rice ball that is prepared by typically filling it with sweet red bean paste, sesame paste, or peanut butter. It is believed that the round shape of the balls and the bowls in which they are served symbolize family togetherness.