Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Lantern Festival!

A few words to describe the Lantern Festival - Light your lanterns, lamps and lights tonight!
Chinese celebrate 15-day long festival for Chinese New Year. Chinese Lantern Festival (Yuan-Xiao Festival) is the last day of 15-day Chinese New Year Festival. That means Chinese Lantern Festival is on the 15th day of the first lunar month in the Chinese lunar calendar. 2011 Chinese New Year Day is on the February 3, 2011. Therefore the 2011 Chinese Lantern Festival is on February 17, 2011. The major cities in China will decorate new year lightings and lanterns before the New Year Day. But the Lantern Festival Party will kick off on the 15th lunar day.
People will eat yuanxiao, or rice dumplings, on this day, so it is also called the "Yuanxiao Festival". Yuanxiao also has another name, tangyuan. It is small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour with rose petals, sesame, bean paste, jujube paste, walnut meat, dried fruit, sugar and edible oil as filling. Tangyuan can be boiled, fried or steamed. It tastes sweet and delicious. What's more, tangyuan in Chinese has a similar pronunciation with "tuanyuan”, meaning reunion. So people eat them to denote union, harmony and happiness for the family.
There was a beautiful bird flew down to the earth from the heaven. It was hunted by the village people. The Jade Emperor in Heaven was very anger, because the bird was his favorite one. He ordered to destroy the village and kill all people with a storm of fire on the 15th lunar day. The daughter of Jade Emperor heard of this act of vengeance, and warned the villagers to prepare for that. Everybody worried about it and no one had any idea to face the fact.

Luckily, a wise man past the village and made the suggestion that every house should hang red lanterns around the house, setup campfire on the street, explode the bamboo firecracker, made fireworks on 14th, 15th and 16th lunar days. In this way, Jade Emperor might think all village people die under fire and all the villagers can save their lives and properties.

On the night of 15th lunar day, the troop coming down from the heaven looked the village was ablaze and returned back to heaven to report the Jade Emperor. Satisfied with the result, the Jade Emperor decided not to burn down the village. From that day on, people celebrated the anniversary on 15th lunar day every year by carrying red lanterns on the streets and explode the firecracker and fireworks.

1 comment:

OziMum said...

:) I have a picture like that! Purchased in Guangzhou!! :) Happy Year of the Bunny!

Hope you're all fantastic! Wee little AA isn't so little anymore!