Red lanterns are hung on the street to embrace the Lantern Festival in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, Feb 7, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]
The Lantern Festival (or Yuan Xiao Festival in Chinese) is a traditional Chinese festival with great significance, which is on the 15th of the first lunar month, marking the end of New Year celebrations. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns.
Many Chinese holidays involve lanterns. But the Lantern Festival represents the epitome of this custom.
Here are 7 things you should know about the Lantern Festival.
The origins of Chinese lanterns
The origins of Chinese lanterns reach back to the Stone Age. The coming of the Bronze Age saw the development of various kinds of worked metal lanterns, of which palace lanterns were the most ornate. Later, decorative lanterns came to be used in festivals. Various lantern festivals became quite popular during the Sui Dynasty (581- 618), and during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 -1279), the custom of writing riddles on lanterns emerged. During this time, a festival in Qinhuaihe in Nanjing featured over 10,000 lanterns. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), magnificent exhibitions of lanterns were held in the capital city. Lantern contests were also held, with the dragon lantern being the most famous competitor.