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The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month, and traditionally ends the Chinese New Year period. In 2016 it falls on February 22. There is no public holiday for this festival.
Lantern Festival Dates
The Lantern Festival is on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month (always between February 5 and March 7).
Lantern Festival Facts.
Popular Chinese name: 元宵节 Yuánxiāojié /ywen-sshyaoww jyeah/'first night festival'
Alternative Chinese name: 上元节 Shàngyuánjié /shung-ywen-jyeah/'first first festival'
Date: Lunar calendar month 1 day 15 (February 22, 2016)
Importance: ends China's most important festival, Spring Festival
Celebrations: enjoying lanterns, lantern riddles, eating tangyuan a.k.a yuan xiao(ball dumplings in soup), lion dances, dragon dances, etc.
History: about 2,000 years
Greeting: Happy Lantern Festival! 元宵节快乐！Yuánxiāojiékuàilè! /ywen -sshyaoww-jyeah kwhy-luh/
When Did the Lantern Festival Begin?
The Lantern Festival can be traced back to 2,000 years ago.
In the beginning of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220), Emperor Hanmingdi was an advocate of Buddhism. He heard that some monks lit lanterns in the temples to show respect to Buddha on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Therefore, he ordered that all the temples, households, and royal palaces should light lanterns on that evening.
This Buddhist custom gradually became a grand festival among the people.
How Do Chinese Celebrate the Lantern Festival?
Lighting and Watching Lanterns
Guessing Lantern Riddles
The lion dance is one of the most outstanding traditional folk dances in China. It can be dated back to the Three Kingdoms Period (220–280).
Eating Tangyuan (Yuanxiao)
Where Is Best to See Lanterns in China?
During the Lantern Festival many lantern fairs are held in China, offering tourists the chances to experience Lantern Festival celebrations in public places. Here we recommend four top places for you to appreciate spectacular and colorful lanterns and performances.
●Qinhuai International Lantern Festival (the biggest in China!) is from February 8 to February 13, 2016, at Confucius Temple, Qinhuai Scenic Zone, Nanjing.
●Beijing Yanqing Lantern Festival Flower Exhibition is from January 16 to March 8, 2016, in Yanqing County, Beijing.
●Xiamen Lantern Festival is from February 10 to March 25, 2016, at Yuanboyuan Garden, Xiamen City.
●Shanghai Datuan Peach Garden Lantern Festival is from February 10, 2016 to March 9, 2016, at Datuan Peach Garden, 888 Caichuan, Datuan Town, Pudong New District, Shanghai (adults: 40 yuan, students and children under 1.3m: 20 yuan, over 60s: 32 yuan).
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