The Chinese Lantern Festival (AKA Shangyuan Festival) is on the 15th day after Chinese New Year. This year that’s Saturday, February 24th. It marks the end of the new year celebrations. The lunar new year celebrations start with the beginning of the first new moon and end on the 15th –when it reaches its peak and is the first full moon. This is to highlight the beginning of a positive future, since it’s a time when winter abates and spring is on the horizon. Some consider this to be the most joyous of holidays.
Lanterns of different shapes and colors are hung in houses and out in the streets. Children and adults may walk the streets carrying lanterns. The lanterns may be round, square, of fish or other animal shapes. To make things even more fun, a lantern may have a riddle written on it and the person who guesses the riddle correctly gets a prize. The public festivities include parades with lion and dragon dances. The sound of fireworks can be heard everywhere.
A favorite treat on this day are glutinous rice balls called yuanxiao or tangyuan. These round dumplings usually have a sweet black sesame, lotus paste, or red bean filling. Although any number of other fillings may be tried. Their round shape suggests something that is complete and whole and is used to symbolize a unified, strong family. Another popular food is an egg noodle known as the longevity noodle because of its length. Eating these noodles symbolizes enjoying a long life.
If you want to make lanterns there are several good DIY sites on the web. Making a lantern is also a good project to share with your child. Here are a few sites that will show you how to make fun, easy-to-do lanterns to celebrate this holiday.
DIY Lunar New Year lanterns:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rQ4ib7pSp4 A child demonstrates how to make lanterns.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gA0zE_7j2k Shows 1 simple lantern.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeZKYGmuZn0 Extremely simple paper lantern.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSWcUKYrXyE One level up from “Extremely simple paper lantern” above.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v12j1bQh9A 5 different ideas for lanterns.
photos are from depositphotos.com