A guide to the Lantern Festival, Lunar New Year’s grand finale


As this 12 months’s Lunar New 12 months celebrations draw to a detailed, it’s time to prepare for the grand finale, a.ok.a. the Lantern Competition.

Occurring on the fifteenth day of the primary lunar month (February 5 this 12 months), the occasion, known as Yuan Xiao Jie in Mandarin Chinese language, is taken into account the right ending to the weeks-long Lunar New 12 months preparations and celebrations.

The Lantern Competition celebrates the primary full moon of the 12 months – therefore the title (Yuan means the start. Xiao means night time).

It marks the departure of winter and the start of the spring season. It usually falls very shut to 2 of the 24 conventional Chinese language Photo voltaic Phrases – an integral a part of the Chinese language calendar – “Spring Commences” and “Spring Showers.”

On at the present time, individuals mild lanterns to represent driving out darkness and bringing hope to the approaching 12 months.

It’s stated that the custom gained reputation throughout China’s Han Dynasty some 2,000 years in the past.

Revelers would attend a neighborhood honest to admire fireworks, watch performances, view lanterns and clear up riddles written on hooked up notes.

Lantern riddles have developed over time. Right here’s a easy one:

If you draw it, it’s spherical.

If you write it, it’s rectangular.

It’s quick in winter.

It’s lengthy in summer time.

The reply is solar – 日 in Chinese language.

Again within the day, the Lantern Competition was one of many uncommon instances of the 12 months when single ladies and boys can be allowed to fulfill one another, everybody gathering below rows of lanterns. That’s why some have even dubbed it Chinese language Valentine’s Day.

The romantic pageant has been effectively documented in historic literature, together with “Journey to the West” and “Dream of the Crimson Chamber,” and has since impressed numerous well-known poems.

As we speak, the Lantern Competition is noticed in communities worldwide and celebrations differ considerably. Many cities placed on grand lantern exhibitions and parades to mark the pageant.

Putian in China’s Fujian province claims to have the longest Lantern Competition celebration within the nation, with some saying it’s thought-about extra essential than the precise Lunar New 12 months pageant.

Festivities final practically three weeks and embrace a deity parade, hearth pit leaping and loads of conventional theater and music performances.

In Hebei’s Nuanquan city, residents placed on a spectacular “firework” present by throwing molten iron towards a chilly stone metropolis wall to create sparks.

The centuries-old customized, dashuhua or da tie hua (translated as hit tree flower or hit iron flower) has been acknowledged as intangible cultural heritage by the Chinese language authorities. It was additionally one of many key performances on the Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony in 2022.

Made well-known within the city of Nuanquan, da tie hua reveals are widespread somewhere else throughout China, together with the Nice Wall in Beijing’s Yanqing District, throughout the Lantern Competition.

However Taiwan is the place you’ll discover essentially the most excessive Lantern Competition occasion of all of them – the Beehives Fireworks Competition.

Held yearly within the metropolis of Yanshui, hundreds of daredevils in helmets and fire-retardant clothes deliver a sequence of launch towers filled with small rocket fireworks that resemble beehives into the slim streets.

As soon as lit, the towers shoot a whole lot and hundreds of rockets in numerous instructions, leading to a dramatic and sometimes terrifying scene.

Regardless of how large, small or harmful your Lantern Competition celebration is, you possibly can by no means go unsuitable with a bowl of spherical and candy glutinous rice balls, known as tangyuan, as you admire the total moon.

The spherical motifs symbolize the reunion and wholeness of households.

Different distinctive celebrations will be discovered all through Asia to mark the primary full moon of the lunar 12 months.

In Malaysia, the emphasis is on the match-making custom of the Lantern Competition. Single ladies usually toss tangerines right into a river, lake or sea to hope for an excellent marriage.

Girls write their contact information on the tangerines earlier than tossing them into the river. Males then fish the tangerines out of the water, hoping to fulfill their future companions.

In South Korea, it’s known as Daeboreum (the Nice Full Moon). Many Koreans down a shot of chilled rice wine and eat several types of nuts, grains and dried greens. Along with lighting lanterns, some additionally take a hike and make a bonfire.