What is the Lantern Festival?

“You will have many bright days soon.”


Right at the end of the Chinese New Year celebration is the Lantern Festival. This happens the 15th day of the first month in the lunar year. It happens to fall on March 5, 2015 this year. It marks the last day of the Spring Festival. People go out at night and watch brilliantly lit lanterns in the sky. Sometimes riddles are placed on these lanterns. Participants of the festivities who can guess the right answer win a prize. Tang yuan (sticky rice balls with fillings) are often eaten on this occasion and, because of their roundness, signify reunion and harmony.

I once brought a Chinese lantern to show-and-tell time at school. It was resplendent with pictures of ancient Chinese scenes depicted on the screens of the lantern. I even got to incorporate history and culture into my presentation. My teacher was pretty excited about learning something new, but the other kids longed to share about the toys that they had brought instead.

Fun fact: The Lantern Festival is is sometimes known as Chinese Valentine’s Day.


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  1. How pretty that must be to see close up!

    • Jennifer J. Chow says

      Sky lanterns are really pretty as they float up in the air. I’m also a big fan of floating lanterns. There’s something magical about the lights glimmering in the water.

  2. Veronica Roth says

    I should try to make it Downtown to see the festival this year. Jonathan spends some time in Japan, and, I know it’s different, but the releasing of the lanterns into the sky prior to the Toro Nagashi festival, his photos…those two occasions are just magic. :D

  3. Happy New Year! I’d love to see the floating lantern festival someday. I am sure it is a spectacular sight.

  4. Happy New Year to you, Jennifer, and your family! I would have loved to be in your class to admire the lantern! It’s gorgeous. And I love sticky balls of rice!

  5. Thank you for sharing more about your culture. I’m out in the boonies, far away from any lantern festivals, so I’m especially glad when you post things like this.

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