The Chinese Lantern Festival is the last day of the Chinese New Year spring festival. It's on the 15th day of the first lunar month in the Chinese lunar calendar. Chinese Lantern Festival 2020 is on February 8, 2020, Saturday. Chinese Lantern Festival is not a national holiday in China. People celebrate the Lantern Festival since the Han Dynasty more than 2000 years ago. This traditional Chinese festival was called Shan-Yuan Festival in the early Tan Dynasty (618-907AD). It was called the Yuan-Xiao Festival in the late Tan Dynasty. It was called Lantern Night in the Sun Dynasty (960-1297 A.D.). The Lantern Festival was used in the Ching Dynasty (1644-1911 AD). Today, Most Chinese call Lantern Festival as Yuan-Xiao Festival. The dates of the Chinese Lantern Festival for the coming years in the following.
The lantern displays will be ready in the town center square and temples one day before the Chinese Lantern Festival. Lantern displays have a lantern competition. People always want to find out who is the winner. In the old days, lanterns are made by paper. People can make the lantern turning around by the heat circulation from the candle inside. Today the light of the lantern is from color LED light bulbs. People like to design lanterns using 12 Chinese zodiacs, historical figures, cute animals, and gods of religious. Taiwanese government builds a giant zodiac animal lantern more than a 15-kilometer high in a selected city every year to promote the touring business since 1990. This giant lantern will be designed according to the theme of the festival. Using computer high-tech knowledge, the giant lantern can change the color appearance and have robotic motions. The laser light will add to the special visual and sound effects. All other lanterns from different grade schools, organizations, and foreign countries will be displayed in different sections for competition.
The lantern riddle game is usually sponsored by the temple. The riddles are written on the lanterns. The first person gives the correct answer to the riddle will receive a gift. Before the opening light ceremony at night, the parade and traditional art performances entertain people during the day. The laser show will perform with 5 or 6 subjects after the opening-lighting ceremony. It's always very crowded when the game begins. Food, store, games, gift shops, performance are available around the lantern displays for people and tourists. The fireworks will come in the end. This lantern carnival will be held for more than a week.
Chinese sky lantern was invented before the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 AD-220 AD). A prime minister Kung-Ming used sky lantern for military liaison purposes during the Three Kingdom epoch (221 AD). Therefore, the sky lantern is also called the Kung-Ming lantern.
In the old days, Taiwanese people flew sky anterns by writing their wishes on the paper lantern and prayed their wishes to come true during the night of the lantern festival. They believed the lanterns will fly up to heaven. The god of heaven will receive their messages and will give them a blessing.
There is another story related to the sky lantern. Once a village in Taiwan was attacked by the pirate. When seeing the pirate ship coming, people ran to and hid in the mountain. When pirate left, someone in the town flew the sky lantern to tell people in the mountain safe to come home. It happened on the 15th lunar day in that year. Now people do the same way to depict their peace, safety and without an accident.
Chinese Lantern Festival is also called. Yuan-Xiao Festival. This is because Chinese eat Yuan-Xiao on this day. This custom originated from the Eastern Jin Dynasty in the fourth century, then became popular during the Tang and Song Dynasty.
Yuan-Xiao just like Tang-Yuan . They are made of sweet rice flour into sticky glutinous balls. They can be filled in with sesame, red-bean or peanut butter paste. Usually, they are severed with sugar water. But some people still make salty Tang-Yuan.
The difference between Yuan-Xiao and Tang-Yuan is the way they are made and cooked. Chinese in different geographic areas prepare the food differently. The Chinese call the one they eat on Winter Solstice Day is Tang-Yuan. The one they eat at the Lantern festival is called Yuan-Xiao.