The Lantern Festival, also called Yuan Xiao Jie, Shangyuan, Yuen Siu Festival, and Chap Go Meh, is a festival to celebrate the first full moon after the Chinese New Year. Chinese people all over the world celebrate this festival by gathering around and holding feast with family. The Lantern Festival is also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day because lovers usually show their affection to each other in this full moon. The festival got its name – Lantern Festival – from the tradition of Chinese people to set out a big number of red-glowing lanterns along the street.
When is Yuan Xiao 2014?
Yuan Xiao 2014 falls on the 15th day of Chinese New Year 2014, thus it will be on Friday, 14 February 2014.
History of the Lantern Festival
Some legends are believed as the beginning of the Lantern Festival; one of them tells about a Chinese emperor got his authority fifteen days after the Chinese New Year. This emperor decided to celebrate the day by lighting lanterns in his territory and asked the citizens to set out as much lanterns as possible both in the main streets and cultural centers. Since then, the tradition was known as the Lantern Festival and citizens keep celebrate it every year. The other legend tells that the first full moon after New Year is the best time to worship Taiyi, the Goddess ruling human’s destiny. The purpose of praising Taiyi is to get better harvest, better food, better life, and good health for the coming year because Taiyi is believed to have a control of wind, rain, drought, and storms.
Tradition of the Lantern Festival
In accordance with its name, the Lantern Festival is celebrated by setting out lanterns, usually red, in some public places. The lanterns were used to be simple paper-made lanterns, but now the lanterns become more complex with various shapes, colors, and designs. Couples in China believe, due to the full moon at night, that the night of the Lantern Festival is the best moment to show their affections by having a romantic dinner or walking around the streets lighted by hundreds lanterns. Besides the lanterns, the streets are also full of Chinese traditional performances including Lion Dance and Dragon Dance. This Lantern Festival symbolizes the end of the Chinese New Year Festival.