Three things you may not know about Lantern Festival
The Lantern Festival is atraditional Chinese festival with great significance, which is on the 15th ofthe first lunar month, marking the end of New Year celebrations. During theLantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanternsand solve riddles on the lanterns.
Many Chinese holidays involvelanterns. But the Lantern Festival represents the epitome of this custom.
The origins of Chinese lanterns
The origins of Chineselanterns reach back to the Stone Age. The coming of the Bronze Age saw thedevelopment of various kinds of worked metal lanterns, of which palace lanternswere the most ornate. Later, decorative lanterns came to be used in festivals.Various lantern festivals became quite popular during the Sui Dynasty (581-618), and during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 -1279), the custom of writingriddles on lanterns emerged. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), magnificentexhibitions of lanterns were held in the capital city.
Eating small dumpling balls
Just as the name implies, animportant part of the Lantern Festival, or Yuan Xiao Festival, is to eat smalldumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour. We call these balls Yuan Xiao, orTang Yuan. Obviously, they get the name from the festival itself. Made ofsticky rice flour filled with sweet or salty stuffing and round in shape, thedumpling symbolizes family unity, completeness and happiness.
Guessing lantern riddles
When it comes to the LanternFestival, "Guessing lantern riddles" is an essential component.Lantern owners will write riddles on a piece of paper and post them on thelanterns in advance. If visitors can answer the riddles, they can just pull thepaper out and go to the lantern owners to check their answers. If they areright, they will get a little gift. The activity emerged during the SongDynasty (960-1279). As riddle guessing is interesting and full of wisdom, ithas become popular among all social strata.