Happy Lantern Festival


The Lantern Festival (or Yuanxiao Festival in Chinese) is an important traditional Chinese festival that falls on the 15th of the first lunar month, marking the end of celebrations of the New Year. This year’s Lantern Festival falls on February 8.

The biggest attraction on the Lantern Festival is the sea of lanterns in every conceivable size and shape, often with riddles written on them. If the riddle is answered correctly, the solver earns a small gift. 

Chinese started to celebrate the Lantern Festival since more than 2,000 years ago. This is a festival for people to have fun. On the night, people go to streets with a variety of lanterns under the full moon, watching Lion or Dragon Dance, playing Chinese riddles and games, and setting off firecrackers. In Shanghai, a large-scale lantern fair is staged every year at Yuyuan Garden, attracting seas of visitors. However, due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, this year’s lantern fair is canceled.

Besides entertainment and beautiful lanterns, another important part of the Lantern Festival or Yuanxiao Festival is eating small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour. We call these balls Yuanxiao or Tangyuan. Obviously, they get the name from the festival itself. Made of sticky rice flour filled with sweet stuffing and round in shape, it symbolizes family unity, completeness and happiness.

Written by: Yu Wenxi Proofread by: Joshua Mayfield Designed by Yu Yanyi


East China Normal University