The Chinese Lantern Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. That's usually in February or March according to the Gregorian calendar. After the Chinese Spring Festival, it is the first significant festival for the Chinese people to denote the end of the Chinese New Year Festivities. On the night of the celebration, thousands of lanterns light up the streets. They hang at storefronts and homes, laying a foundation for the colorful processions and performances to come.
Over 25 large-scale lantern fairs are held annually in the country The tradition is especially popular in East China. Qinhuai International Lantern Festival in Nanjing is the largest and the oldest in China. Millions of people visit the Confucius Temple of Nanjing to see thousands of amazing lanterns. In Bejing, a popular lantern fair is held in Happy Valley, Chaoyang District, and in Gucheng Village, Yanqing County. In Shanghai, there is Shanghai Yuyuan Lantern Festival. Yuexiu Park Lantern Fair is held in Guangzhou.
Although it all started with glass, silk, and paper, modern Chinese lanterns have magically turned into works of art of all shapes and colors. Still, the most common is the typical red balloon which is found everywhere during the main Chinese celebrations and symbolizes the Chinese culture all around the world.
Chinese Lanterns are more than just decorations—each kind of lantern means something. In general, they are often red and they symbolize good fortune, joy, and vitality. Some of them mean letting go of their past selves and getting new ones, which they will let go of next year. On the other hand, white ones mean death in the family.
In the past, the Lantern Festival was also known as Chinese Valentine’s day. In the old times, there were restrictions for young girls to go out, and the Lantern Festival was an excellent chance for them to find love while enjoying fireworks and colorful lantern spectacles. It was also a reasonable chance for lovers to meet.
Traditional celebrations without food? No, thank you. Welcome, Tangyuan—sticky rice balls usually filled with peanut butter, sweet red bean or sesame paste. Its round shape, as well as the bowls in which they are served, symbolize strong family unity—it is believed that eating tangyuan means good luck and happiness in the new year.