This past Wednesday, Omeida Chinese Academy organized an activity about Lantern Festival, and teacher Vivian gave us a vivid culture class talking about the custom and traditions. The Chinese New Year holiday comes to its climax with the Yuan Xiao (元宵节—yuán xiāo jié), or Lantern Festival. Celebrated on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month, the Lantern Festival traditionally marks the end of the Chinese New Year Spring Festival period. This 2019 year, it lands on Tuesday, February 19.The general consensus is that the festival began more than 2000 years ago in the Western Han dynasty. 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.The Lantern Festival is also the first full moon night in the Chinese calendar, marking the return of spring and symbolizing the reunion of family. However, most people cannot celebrate it with their families at a family reunion because there is no public holiday for this festival so long-distance travel usually isn’t feasible.

Lantern riddles (猜灯谜—cāi dēng mí)
The ancient Chinese would often get together with some friends, drink wine and write poetry. Plays on words and riddles were a favorite pastime.

During this festival, people would write riddles on the lanterns. These small games are popular with everyone. They require you to be clever and think outside the box.

According to many love stories, you can catch the attention of your crush through this game!

The trademark food of the Lantern Festival is called yuan xiao, just like the festival itself. It’s also known as tāng yuan (汤圆) in the South, and one of the many tasty Chinese New Year desserts.They are glutinous rice dumplings with sweet fillings made of syrup, red bean paste, black sesame paste or more. They can be steamed or fried, but usually boiled and served in hot water.They represent family reunions because tang yuan sounds similar to “reunion” (团圆—tuán yuan). Some businessmen also call these balls 元宝 (yuán bǎo), meaning gold or silver ingots.The duration of celebrations varied throughout history. Nowadays, the festival technically isn’t a national holiday, so there aren’t any days off. The best period for Lantern Festival lovers would be the Ming dynasty. It lasted around 1 month!

Wishing everybody a happy Lantern Festival !!!