Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival (also known as the Yuanxiao Festival or Shangyuan Festival in China; Chap Goh Meh Festival in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore; Yuen Siu Festival in Hong Kong, and "Tết Thượng Nguyên" or "Tết Nguyên Tiêu" in Vietnam); is a festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar year in the Chinese calendar, the last day of the lunisolar Chinese New Year celebration. It is not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is sometimes also known as the "Lantern Festival" in locations such as Singapore and Malaysia. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns (simplified Chinese: 猜灯谜; traditional Chinese: 猜燈謎; pinyin: cāidēngmí). It officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations.

In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, for only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones; in modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs. For example, lanterns are now often made in shapes of animals.

In some region and countries, this festival is also regarded as the Chinese version of St. Valentine's Day, a day celebrating love and affection between lovers in Chinese tradition and culture.

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