Home Holidays How to celebrate the Lantern Festival in China and tips

How to celebrate the Lantern Festival in China and tips

by marusia

In China, New Year celebrations last 15 days. The last, fifteenth day is Yuanxiaojie, or the Lantern Festival, which most Chinese love more than the New Year itself: hundreds of thousands of lanterns and figures rise into the sky, creating an unforgettable spectacle.

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History of the holiday

Yuanxiaojie was first mentioned in the Western Han era, which lasted from 206 BC. to 25 AD Already at that time it was one of the main holidays. The Lantern Festival, according to legend, was established by Emperor Ming Han, who learned about Buddhist monks lighting lanterns as a sign of worship of Buddha. The ruler liked the tradition, so he ordered all believers, monasteries and churches to do the same. Over time, the religious component was lost, but the tradition of lighting and releasing lit lanterns and figurines into the sky remained.

There is another, more mystical story of the origin of the holiday. The Jade Emperor – the main god of heaven – was angry with the people who killed his favorite goose. On the fifteenth day of the new month according to the lunar calendar, he decided to destroy humanity with a firestorm. Having learned about this, the good fairy warned people and offered to light lanterns in response. Seeing from the sky the earth blanketed in fire from the lanterns, the emperor was satisfied that revenge for the goose had taken place and had not brought fiery death upon humanity. It would be a shame to burn for a goose…

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