The origin of Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival is also called Shangyuan Festival originated from the “Torch Festival”, when people in the Han Dynasty held torches in rural fields to drive away insects and animals, hoping to reduce pests and pray for a good harvest. To this day, people in some areas of southwest China still make torches with reed wood or branches and dance in groups on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, holding the torches high. Since Sui, Tang and Song dynasties, it has flourished. Tens of thousands of people took part in the song and dance, and they partied from dawn until dark. With the changes of society and times, the customs of Lantern Festival have already changed greatly, but it is still a traditional Chinese folk festival, and the torches have gradually changed into colored lanterns.
Since the middle of the Tang Dynasty, Lantern Festival has developed into a national carnival. Therefore, Lantern Festival is the most thorough and typical traditional festival.
Lantern Festival Activities
Nowadays, Lantern Festival is still celebrated with a variety of fun activities.
Viewing Lantern displays
As its name suggests, the most important part of the Lantern Festival revolves around viewing and interacting with grand displays of Chinese lanterns.
When many people think of Chinese lanterns, they imagine the round, red, basket-ball sized lanterns they may have seen hanging outside Chinese restaurants.
While this type of lantern is certainly omnipresent around the time of Chinese New Year, the lanterns involved in Lantern Festival displays are quite different.
Instead of being basketball-sized, these lanterns are often enormous, with some of the larger ones measuring over 65 feet (20 meters) high and 330 (100 meters) long.
These giant lanterns aren’t usually round or red. Instead, they’re built into every imaginable color and shape, depicting real and imaginary animals like giraffes and dragons along with giant flowers, trees and palaces.
Groups of lanterns are often arranged together to illustrate famous scenes from various historical or mythological stories.
Lanterns used in lantern displays in the past were made of materials like paper, silk, bamboo, glass or jade and lit with candles from within. Today, the materials used have been updated.
Most are now made with fabric stretched over wire frames and lit with thousands of LED lights.
Kongming lanterns were often incorporated into Lantern Festival celebrations and flying them was a favorite activity for children and adults alike.
Guessing lantern riddles
Guessing lantern riddles is an activity that dates back at least as far as the Song Dynasty, when scholars wrote riddles on small slips of paper and hung them from lanterns for festival attendees to guess.
Most of these lantern riddles were simply created as a form of entertainment. Sometimes, however, imperial advisors used them to make suggestions to the emperor.
If the emperor didn’t like a suggestion, the advisors could claim that the riddle had been interpreted incorrectly, thus avoiding his wrath. This was possible because the riddles’ answers were rarely obvious and clear-cut, leaving them open to multiple interpretations.
Today’s lantern riddles are still open to multiple interpretations and difficult to guess. So difficult, in fact, that they’re referred to as “lantern tigers” and guessing lantern riddles is sometimes referred to as “guessing lantern tigers” .
Generally, lantern riddles are based on complex forms of wordplay and may be difficult for even advanced students to understand.
Most riddles consist of the riddle itself and a hint that tells the guesser what form he or she should expect the answer to take.
For example, sometimes the hint might indicate that the answer is a Chinese idiom, the name of a country or that it should consist of only one Chinese character.
Another popular Lantern Festival activity is eating tangyuan (also called yuanxiao).These balls of glutinous rice flour are generally loaded with sweet fillings made from ingredients like black sesame paste. Although most tangyuan are sweet, savory tangyuan do exist.
Most tangyuan are boiled, but they can also be fried and steamed. Usually served floating in a thin hot soup, they’re traditionally white in color.
In recent years, modern versions of tangyuan have also appeared. These come in a mix of bright colors like purple, pink and orange. Creative chefs have updated the fillings, sometimes using less-traditional ingredients like chocolate.
Although they were originally only consumed on festive occasions, nowadays frozen tangyuan can be found in supermarkets throughout the year and can be eaten anytime.
The pronunciation of the word tangyuan is similar to that of the word tuanyuan (团圆 or tuányuán), which means “reunion” in Chinese. This, along with the fact that tangyuan are round and are served in round bowls, has led them to become a symbol of family togetherness.
There are some regional variations of this traditional dessert. In southern China, it’s called tangyuan, but in northern China, it’s called yuanxiao .
Though there are some slight differences in how tangyuan and yuanxiao are prepared and stored, the two are quite similar.
Watching dragon and lion dances
In some parts of China, dragon and lion dances are also performed during the Lantern Festival.
Lion dance is a type of folk dance typically performed by two dancers wearing a single lion suit. One performer controls the head and front part of the lion’s body, while the other controls the rear.
The performers dance and perform various acrobatic tricks to the beat of drums, gongs and cymbals.
Some lion dances are quite complex and may even include martial arts-inspired moves. In traditional Chinese culture, lions are considered to be powerful, auspicious animals, and lion dances are thought to bring good luck and financial prosperity.
Dragon dances are usually performed by a large team of dancers. Instead of getting inside a dragon costume, these performers manipulate a long, flexible model of a dragon using poles attached to its body.
Chinese dragons are thought to be powerful, benevolent creatures. Like lion dances, dragon dances are thought to bring good luck to the communities in which they’re performed.
Fireworks were invented in China, so it should come as no surprise that they’re still an integral part of many Chinese festivals.
Firework displays are popular during the Lantern Festival. In fact, it’s quite common to see and hear fireworks almost every day from the start of the Chinese New Year until the Lantern Festival, which marks the official end of the Spring Festival holiday.
Sometimes, fireworks displays are combined with other aspects of the Lantern Festival, such as dragon dancing, which can make for a truly spectacular performance.
Doosansports’ Lantern Festival celebration
February 5 to celebrate the Lantern Festival, Doosansports invited the lion dance team to the company green: two “lions” came to the lobby green, the lion is a representative of the auspicious beast, so since ancient times have been considered to bring good luck to people.Our company manager in the lion after the arrival of green, meaning to welcome wealth to accept blessings. I also wish all the friends who read this article good health in the Year of the Rabbit!
At the same time, Welcome to consult us on sportswear and all kinds of clothing custom business!
Written on February 6, 2023.
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