Friday, March 4, 2011

The Lantern Festival ,History,Origion and Legend Of Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival or Yuan Xiao Festival (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: 元宵節; pinyin: Yuánxiāojié) or Shang Yuan Festival (simplified Chinese: 上元节; traditional Chinese: 上元節; pinyin: Shàngyuánjié) in China or Chap Goh Meh (Chinese:  Pe̍h-ōe-jī: cha̍p-gō-mê; literally "the fifteen night") Festival in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore or Yuen Siu Festival in Hong Kong, or "Tết Thượng Nguyên" or "Tết Nguyên Tiêu"(Vietnamese: Tết Nguyên tiêu) in Vietnam; is a festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar year in the Chinese calendar, the last day of the lunisolar Chinese New Year celebration. It is not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is sometimes also known as the "Lantern Festival" in locations such as Singapore and Malaysia. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns (simplified Chinese: 猜灯谜; traditional Chinese: 猜燈謎; pinyin: cāidēngmí). It officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations.
In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, for only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones; in modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs. For example, lanterns are now often made in shapes of animals.
In some region and countries, this festival is also regarded as the Chinese version of St. Valentine's Day, a day celebrating love and affection between lovers in Chinese tradition and culture.


The first month of the Chinese calendar is called yuan month, and in ancient times people called night xiao; therefore, the day is called Yuan Xiao Festival in China. The fifteenth day is the first night to see a full moon in that lunar year. According to Chinese tradition, at the very beginning of a new year, when there is a bright full moon hanging in the sky, there should be thousands of colorful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate. At this time, people will try to solve puzzles on lanterns, eat yuanxiao ('元宵'in chinese) (a glutinous rice ball, also known as simplified Chinese: 汤圆; traditional Chinese: 湯圓; pinyin: tāngyuán) and enjoy a family reunion.

6th century and afterwards

Until the Sui Dynasty in the sixth century, Emperor Yangdi invited envoys from other countries to China to see the colorful lighted lanterns and enjoy the gala performances.
By the beginning of the Tang Dynasty in the seventh century, the lantern displays would last three days. The emperor also lifted the curfew, allowing the people to enjoy the festive lanterns day and night. It is not difficult to find Chinese poems which describe this happy scene.
In the Song Dynasty, the festival was celebrated for five days and the activities began to spread to many of the big cities in China. Colorful glass and even jade were used to make lanterns, with figures from folk tales painted on the lanterns.
However, the largest Lantern Festival celebration took place in the early part of the 15th century. The festivities continued for ten days. Emperor Chengzu had the downtown area set aside as a center for displaying the lanterns. Even today, there is a place in Beijing called Dengshikou. In Chinese, deng means lantern and shi is market. The area became a market where lanterns were sold during the day. In the evening, the local people would go there to see the beautiful lighted lanterns on display.
Today, the displaying of lanterns is still a major event on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month throughout China. Chengdu in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, for example, holds a lantern fair each year in Culture Park. During the Lantern Festival, the park is a virtual ocean of lanterns. Many new designs attract large numbers of visitors. The most eye-catching lantern is the Dragon Pole. This is a lantern in the shape of a golden dragon, spiraling up a 27-meter-high pole, spewing fireworks from its mouth. Cities such as Hangzhou and Shanghai have adopted electric and neon lanterns, which can often be seen beside their traditional paper or wooden counterparts.


'元宵' is a glutinous rice ball. It is a round food, and is eaten on the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year. "元宵" has a long history in China. The first Yuanxiao was made 800 years ago. Chinese people believe it will give them a good life.