The Chinese Lantern Festival is over 2,000 years old and is the 15th day of the first lunar month. (This year, it is February 22nd in the Gregorian calendar) This marks the end of the Chinese New Year holiday and the first full moon of the year, which is no coincidence. The importance behind the full moon is it represents Spring is on its way back! During the Han Dynasty, China's Emperor Han Ming Di liked how monks lit lanterns to honor Buddha on the 15th day of the first lunar month so he ordered everyone to light lanterns on that evening, and it eventually became the lantern festival.
In addition to lanterns, the Chinese celebrate in other ways. One tradition is lion dancing. Lions are seen as protectors, traditionally warding off evil and keeping people safe at the same time. The lion dance is performed at significant Chinese festivals throughout the year.
Chinese also eat tangyuan, which are round rice dumplings with sweet fillings. The round shape of the dumplings represent a family's wholeness and togetherness. Another tradition is solving lantern riddles. The lantern owner will write a riddle and attach it to their lanterns. This becomes a game for those who try and guess because if they are right, they receive a small gift from the owner. At your next celebration try incorporating riddles and rewarding your guests!
Happy lighting, dancing & eating!
Photo Credit: GirlWhoWouldBeKing