The Lantern Festival

- Feb 27, 2021-

The Lantern Festival is a traditional Chinese festival. The formation of the Lantern Festival custom takes a long time, which is rooted in the ancient customs of people turning on lanterns to pray for blessings. Lights on and praying for blessing usually begin on the fourteenth night of the first lunar month. The night on the fifteenth day is called the “right lantern”. The folks want to light lanterns, also known as “send lanterns” for the purpose of offering prayers to gods. The introduction of Buddhism culture in the Eastern Han Dynasty, It is also of great significance for the formation of the Lantern Festival custom. In the Yongping reign of Emperor Hanming, Emperor Hanming ordered the fifteenth night of the first lunar month in the palace and temples to "burn the lamp to show the Buddha." Therefore, the custom of lighting the lantern on the fifteenth night of the first lunar month followed the Buddhist culture. The expansion of influence and later the addition of Taoist culture gradually expanded in China. During the Northern and Southern Dynasties, lantern lanterns gradually became popular. Emperor Wu of Liang believed in Buddhism, and his palace was decorated with lanterns on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. During the Tang Dynasty, cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries became closer. Buddhism flourished, officials and people generally "burned lanterns for Buddha" on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, and Buddhist lights spread throughout the people. Starting from the Tang Dynasty, lantern lanterns on the Lantern Festival became a legal affair. [5]

The fifteenth day of the first lunar month is the Lantern Festival, also known as the Shangyuan Festival, Yuanye, and Lantern Festival. The first month is the first month of the lunar calendar. The ancients called the night "Xiao", so the fifteenth of the first month was called the "Lantern Festival". [9] With the changes of society and times, the customs and habits of the Lantern Festival have changed a lot, but it is still a traditional Chinese folk festival. During the formation of early festivals, the Lantern Festival was only called the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, the first half of the first lunar month, or the moon, and it was called Yuanxi or Yuanye after the Sui Dynasty. Under the influence of Taoism at the beginning of Tang Dynasty, it was also called Shangyuan, and it was occasionally called Yuanxiao at the end of Tang Dynasty. But since Song Dynasty, it is also called Dengxi. In the Qing Dynasty, it was also called the Festival of Lights. In foreign countries, the Lantern Festival is also known as The Lantern Festival. On the night of the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, the Chinese have always enjoyed a series of traditional folk activities such as viewing lanterns, eating glutinous rice balls, eating Lantern Festival, guessing lantern riddles, and setting off fireworks.