The Chinese New Year Lantern Festival or Chinese Spring Lantern Festival is also called 元宵节—yuán xiāo jié in the Chinese language. This is the most important part of the Chinese New Year festival. The Chinese New Year festival continues for 15 days and the 15th day of the first Chinese Lunar Calendar month traditionally marks the end of Chinese New Year celebrations. In China, this is also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day. The Chinese New Year or Chinese Spring Festival has over 2000 years old history and true spiritual traditions.
Many facts and activities are associated with this festival. The most common activities that are associated with the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival 2024 (yuan xiao jie) are lighting lanterns, riddles, lion dances, moon gazing, and eating rice balls. According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, the dates of the Chinese Lantern Festival for current and future years are the following:
|February 24, Saturday
|February 12, Wednesday
|March 03, Tuesday
|February 20, Saturday
|February 09, Wednesday
The Chinese New Year Lantern Festival 2024 represents family reunion, socializing, and freedom. In Ancient China, the women were not allowed to go out of the houses but on the Lantern Festival night, they were allowed to enjoy the festival with men.
Chinese Lantern Festival Facts And Activities 2024:
- Chinese Name: 元宵节 Yuánxiāojié
- Alternative Chinese Name: 上元节 Shàngyuánjié
- Observance Date: 15th Day of Chinese Lunar Calendar 1st Month (February Saturday, 24 February 2024), this usually falls in the month of February or early March.
- Importance of Lantern Festival: It marks the official end of the Chinese Spring Festival or Chinese New Year Festival
- Celebrations: The Chinese Lantern Festival has the following activities lantern riddles, lion dances, dragon dances, eating (soup Ball Dumplings), and enjoying lanterns, etc.
- History: This festival has more than 2,000 years old history
- Chinese Lantern Festival Greeting: Happy Lantern Festival! 元宵节快乐！
- The Chinese Lantern Festival has always fallen between February 5 and March 7.
- Lanterns: The central focus of this festival is Lanterns. Lanterns have various shapes, sizes, and colors. Most of the time the designs of lanterns have more complexity and famous riddles written on them. To avoid evil spirits people light and display these lanterns. Also, these lanterns are used to bring good luck.
- Riddles: One of the most popular activities is to solve lantern riddles during the Lantern Festival. Stips of paper are used to write the riddles and these paper strips are inside the lanterns. If you want to win a small prize you have to solve the riddle
- Food: Eating tangyuan (sweet glutinous rice balls) is a special Chinese tradition during the beautiful and colorful Lantern Festival.
Origin of the Chinese Lantern Festival:
According to the general consensus, this festival has a very old history and started in the Western Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago. An advocate of Buddhism Emperor Hanmingdi ordered all temples, general places, households, and general citizens to light lanterns on the 15th of the first lunar calendar month. He ordered this after hearing about the monk’s way of respect towards Buddha. As time passed this Buddhist custom converted into a grand Lantern Festival among the Chinese people.
How do the Chinese Celebrate the Lantern Festival?
People from all walks of life get together on the night of the Chinese Lantern Festival and celebrate this festival with different activities. China is a diverse cultural country and also has a very strong old history. Chinese Lantern Festival consists of various activities including different kinds of lanterns (floating, fixed, held, and flying), lighting, fireworks, guessing riddles written on lanterns, walking on stilts, dragon and lion dances, eating tangyuan, and full bright moon appreciation.
Lighting & Watching Lanterns: This is one of the main activities of the festival and when this festival comes flying lanterns of various types are seen everywhere including streets, parks, shopping malls, buildings, and households. The Chinese Lanterns are decorated with beautiful artwork including the images and symbols of animals, birds, flowers, fruits, buildings, and people. Chinese people pray for a better future and smooth life while the women walk under the hanging lantern and pray to be pregnant.
Guessing Lantern Riddles: Guessing the lantern riddles is one of the most popular and important activities of this festival. People gather around the lantern and try to guess the written riddles. People also get small gifts from the lantern owners upon guessing the right answer. This activity is very interesting, informative, and popular among all social strata.
Lion And Dragon Dances: The Lion and Dragon dances are very interesting and traditional folk dances of China and are also a very important part of the Chinese Lantern Festival. These dances also have a very old history. According to ancient history, Lion dance is considered a symbol of bravery, strength, and drive away from evil. Both Lion and Dragon dances are a very important part of the Chinese Lantern Festival and these dances are performed on the occasion of this festival. Specially trained people perform these dances in a team by wearing special dresses. These dances are also performed in many countries where Chinese people celebrate their Chinese New Year.
Eating Tangyuan (汤圆 Yuanxiao): Eating Tangyuan is also one of the most important parts of the Chinese Lantern Festival. These are basically sweet ball-shaped dumplings that consist of glutinous rice flour and have different fillings like white sugar, brown sugar, peanuts, walnuts, rose petals, sesame seeds, jujube paste, or a combination of ingredients and bean paste. These sweet balls can be made by frying or steamed and served in rice soup which is called Tianjin. According to Chinese tradition, the Chinese people believe that eating tangyuan at the Lantern Festival is a symbol of family reunion and good luck. Also, there are 7 Lucky Chinese New Year Food Dishes prepared and eaten during the Chinese New Year Spring Festival.
Best Places To See Lanterns in China:
Many lantern fairs are held during the Chinese Lantern Festival period. These fairs offer tourists to see the Lantern Festival celebrations in public places in China. We will recommend you the five best places to watch the best performances and colorful lanterns.
- Guangzhou Yuexiu Park Lantern Fair: (Free Entry) in Yuexiu Park, Guangzhou
- Shanghai Yuyuan Lantern Festival: From the end of Jan 2024 till the end of Feb 2024.
- Qinhuai International Lantern Festival: (The biggest Lantern Festival in China) started from January to March 2024, at Nanjing, Qinhuai Scenic Zone, and Confucius Temple.
Transportation During Chinese New Year Festival:
On the occasion of Chinese New Year, public transportation is not easily available because people go out with their families and friends to watch the evening lantern displays in parks and other public places. Due to the huge travel rush travel tickets can not be available easily because people are traveling back to their work or school after the official end of the most popular Chinese Spring Festival vacation days. During the Chinese Lantern Festival days, the accommodation may be very expensive as compared to the usual days.
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