Editor's note: The traditional Chinese Lantern Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month under the Chinese lunar calendar. People eat Yuanxiao, or rice dumplings, on this day to celebrate the first full moon after the Chinese New Year. As the Lantern Festival marks the final day of the New Year celebrations, people may feel reluctant to say goodbye to the festival and will surely head for a new start with fresh hopes. Here, China.org.cn shares with you how people celebrate the traditional festival which falls on Feb. 11 this year.
Lantern show is being held at Yuexiu Park, Guangzhou from Jan. 24 to Feb. 27, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
One of the Lantern Festival's important activities is watching lanterns. Throughout the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), Buddhism flourished in China. One emperor heard that Buddhist monks would watch sarira, or remains from the cremation of Buddha's body, and light lanterns to worship Buddha on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. So he ordered the lighting of lanterns in the imperial palace and temples to show respect to Buddha on this day. Later, the Buddhist rite developed into a grand festival among common people and its influence expanded from the Central Plains to the whole of China.
Till today, the Lantern Festival is still held each year around the country. Lanterns of various shapes and sizes are hung in the streets, attracting countless visitors. Children will hold self-made or bought lanterns to stroll with on the streets - extremely excited.