When you are probably already back to work, still with everyone around saying ‘Kung Het Fat Choi,’ to you, and with festive decors obviously visible everywhere, have you ever wondered when the long Spring Festival celebration ends?
The around-the-corner Lantern Festival, additionally named ‘Yuanxiao Festival’, surely serves as your reminder. It takes place annually on the fifteenth day of the first month of the Lunar calendar (usually in February or March), and this year it falls on March 2. The Chinese name’Yuanxiao’ indicates the arrival of the first full moon occasion in Chinese Lunar Calendar, and also marks the end of CNY celebrations.
The festival dates back to Han Dynasty, and it has different stories of its origin.
The widely accepted one tells that one beautiful bird, adored by the Emperor of Jade in the Heaven, descended in a village and was accidentally killed by a villager. The Jade Emperor was furious and ordered to burn the village to the ground on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month.
One of his daughters informed the villagers and they came out with the idea of lighting numerous lanterns to trick the angry lord in the Heaven.On that day, he deemed the village was on fire and the people were saved.
Thousands of years shadowed the origin but have left some traditional customs, including folk shows, dumplings or‘Tangyuan’ tasting, lanterns admiring, riddles guessing games, and fireworks.
Although you might have heard that Qixi (七夕) is widely recognized as Chinese Valentines' Day, Lantern Festival was romantic in ancient China when young ladies were seldom allowed to hang out on the street, except on the day of Lantern Festival. Enduring the long absence of their fine gentlemen, young girls delightedly dressed up to crowd into the sea of revelers and lanterns, which eclipsed twinkling stars and the full moon.
Surrounded by colorful hand-made paper lanterns, it was the high time that lovers meet each other.Image that how many Romeos and Juliets were there exchanging affectionate words. That’s why it is also regarded as the Chinese Valentine’s Day.