The Chinese Lantern Festival
2013 Chinese Lantern Festival is on 2/24/2013.
2014 Chinese Lantern Festival is on 2/14/2014.
2015 Chinese Lantern Festival is on 3/05/2015.
The Lantern Festival is a traditional Chinese festival since Han Dynasty more than 2000 years ago. In the early Tan Dynasty (618-907AD), it was called the Shan-Yuan Festival, because of Taoism. in the late Tan Dynasty, it was called the Yuan-Xiao Festival. It was called Lantern Night in the Sun Dynasty (960-1297 A.D.). The Lantern Festival was used in Ching Dynasty (1644-1911 AD).
According to Taoism, Shan-Yuan (first period of the year) Festival is the birthday of the Heaven Officer who blesses human luck. On the 15th lunar day of 7th lunar month is Chung-Yuan (middle period of the year) Festival, which is the birthday of the Hell Officer who has right to pardon ghosts. On this day, all the ghosts can leave hell to human world for food. So the 7th lunar month is called Ghost Month. Many Chinese won't get married in this month. The 15th lunar day of 10th lunar month is Xia-Yaun (last period of the year) Festival. This day is the birthday of the Water Officer who can rescue people in trouble.
On the 15th lunar day of the year, some Chinese families worship the Heaven Officer of Taoism and pray for luck at home or temple during the daytime. Traditionally, Chinese should decorate the light lanterns around the house and children carry the candle paper lantern on the street at night. It might the safety concern, not too many follow this custom today. In stead, many people will attend different activities of the Lantern Festival.
The lantern displays can be found in the town center square and temples. Usually. there is the lantern competition at the temple. Traditional lanterns are made by paper. They can make the lantern tuning around by the heat circulation from the candle inside. Today the light of the lantern is from the electricity. People like to design lantern using zodiac animals, historical figures, saint and gods of Taoism or Buddhism. Certainly, the current year's animal symbol of the Chinese calendar is most popular subject. Using the computer tool today, they can design the lantern with different movements, the different colors of light and even using the laser light with special visual and sound effects.
The Lantern Carnival
In Taiwan, the government builds a giant zodiac animal lantern more than 15 kilometer high on the square of a major city every year to promote the touring business since 1990. Around the major lantern, many lanterns from different grade schools, organizations, and foreign countries will be displayed on different sections for competition. There is the parade and traditional art performance beginning at afternoon till the opening light ceremony at night. The laser show will perform with 5 or 6 subjects after open light ceremony. The fireworks will come in the end. The lantern riddle game is usually sponsored by the temple. People give the correct answer for the riddle will received a gift. It's always very crowded when the game begins. Food, store, games, gift shops, performance are available around the lantern displays for people and tourists. This lantern carnival will be held more than a week.
The Sky Lantern
The sky lantern probably was invented before Late Han Dynasty. A prime minister Kung-Ming used sky lantern for military liaison purpose during Three Kingdom epoch (221A.D.). Some people still call the sky lantern as Kung-Ming lantern.
During the night of lantern festival, Some people in Taiwan will fly the sky lantern by writing their wishes on the paper lantern and pray their wishes come true. Long time ago, people thought the lantern will fly up to the heaven. The god of heaven will receive their messages and will give them blessing.
There is a story for this custom. Once a village was attacked by the private. When the private ship came, people ran to and hide in the mountain. When private left, some one in the town flew the sky lantern to tell people in the mountain safe to come home. It happened on the 15th lunar day in that year. Now people do the same way to depict their peace, safety and without accident. Sky Lantern in Taiwan (Video)
Lantern Festival is also called. Yuan-Xiao Festival. This is because Chinese eat Yuan-Xiao on this day. This custom originated from the Eastern Jin Dynasty in the fourth century, then became popular during the Tang and Song Dynasty.
Yuan-Xiao just like Tang-Yuan . They are made of sweet rice flour into sticky glutinous balls. They can be filled in with sesame, red-bean or peanut butter paste. Usually, they are severed with sugar water. But some people still make salty Tang-Yuan.
The difference between Yuan-Xiao and Tang-Yuan is the way they are made and cooked. This is because that Chinese in different geographic area prepare the food in different way. Chinese call the one they eat on Winter Solstice Day is Tang-Yuan. The one they eat on the Lantern festival is called Yuan-Xiao. Continue ...