The Lantern Festival, marking the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations, falls on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month. It is usually in February or March on the Gregorian calendar. Popularly referred to as Chinese Valentine’s Day, couples celebrate the festivals with their loved ones on such a beautiful and romantic evening while singles gather together to play matchmaking games with the lanterns.
It is the last day of the two week long Chinese New Year celebration. People gather with their families in the show place to enjoy the beautiful lanterns displayed by individuals or the local municipal. Kids will carry their own lanterns to participate in the showcase. Usually there is competition for the most beautiful lantern.
“Guessing lantern riddles” is an essential part of the Festival. Riddles are written on a piece of paper and posted on the lanterns. If visitors crack the riddles, they will get a small gift.
Eating rice dumplings (called “yuanxiao” or “tangyuan”) is another tradition of the day. That is why the festival is also known as the “Yuanxiao Festival.” The small dumpling balls are made of glutinous rice flour with rose petals, sesame, bean paste, jujube paste, walnut meat, dried fruit, sugar and edible oil as filling. The dumplings cane be boiled, fried or steamed. “Tangyuan” in has a close pronunciation to “tuanyuan,” meaning reunion. So people eat them for a wish of union, harmony and happiness for the family.
For a colorful night, in addition to magnificent lanterns, fireworks form a beautiful scene. Most families spare some fireworks from the Spring Festival and let them off in the Lantern Festival for the “last craze.”