Friday, 22 February 2008

Lantern festival (Yuanxiao jie 元宵节/節)

I can't believe I almost forgot to mention this.

Yesterday was the last day of CNY festivities. Although the public holiday was for one week, the actual time period of CNY is 15 days, ending yesterday 21st February.

I feel a little ashamed to say I didn't even know about this or what it's called. I don't recall ever learning about it :( All I knew was that last night the fireworks started up all over again but given I had seen and heard them so many times already I didn't even get up to look at them (I was kind of sick of them now to be honest)! I did have a quick look out the window later though, and noticed that the moon was very high, full, big and bright. Coincidence? I think not! ;)

From Wikipedia:

yuánxiāojié) or (Yuanxiao Festival), also known as the Shang Yuan Festival (simplified Chinese: 上元节; traditional Chinese: 上元節; pinyin: shàngyuánjié) is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar year in the Chinese calendar. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying rabbit-shaped lanterns. The 15th day of the 1st lunar month is the Chinese Lantern Festival because the first lunar month is called yuan-month and in the ancient times people called night Xiao. The 15th day is the first night to see a full moon. According to the Chinese tradition, at the very beginning of a new year, when there is a bright full moon hanging in the sky, there should be thousands of colorful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate. At this time, people will try to solve the puzzles on the lanterns and eat yuanxiao (glutinous rice ball) and get all their families united in the joyful atmosphere.

Well there you go.. the things I learn by living in China and reading Wikipedia!

1 comment:

Amyee said...

My mum and dad totally forgot about it since no one celebrates it here. Like you - I don't really know what it was for either...
But I know you are suppose to eat rice dumplings!