The Lantern (Yuanxiao) Festival is a traditional festival in China.As the first fullmoon night of the new year, it is also called Shangyuan Festival.
Because there isacustom of watching lanternsthrough the ages, it iscalled the Lantern Festival.
Unlike other traditional festivals which highlight "family reunion", the Lantern Festival more emphasizes on " jubilation enjoyed by the wholenation".
It is regarded as the final climax of the Spring Festival, since people will start the new year's production and livingofficially after that day.
Therefore, people celebrate the Lantern Festivalnationwide and pray to God for good weather for the crops and agood harvest in the coming year, whichexpressespeople's good wishes for the New Year.
This is why the Chinese people have the custom of "celebrating the Lantern Festivalon the fifteenth day of the first lunar month".
Having been inherited for more than two thousand years,
this traditional festival is not only prevalent in China, but also celebrated every year in foreigncountries’areas inhabited by overseas Chinese.
During the Lantern Festival, people would like to walk out of home and poured onto the streets. Besides watching lanterns andriddlesguessing, entertainmentsincludesdragon lantern dance,lion dance, stilts-walking, landboat dance, beating Zhoushan drums,
many of which are national intangible cultural heritages.
Many peoplewould like to go out to admire the full moon, guesslantern riddles, set off fireworks and eat Yuan Xiao to celebrate the festival together. The general publicget involved into the entertainments and the memory which is left by these intangible cultural heritages.
Besides various entertainments, there is of course a tradition to eat festive food——yuanxiaoin the Lantern Festival.
Yuanxiao is made of glutinous rice flour, solid or with stuffing
includingsweetened bean paste, sugar, hawthorn, all kinds of dried fruit, etc.
It can be boiled, fried or steamed to eat.
At first, people called it "Fu Yuanzi ", later on also called it"tang yuan" ,
Tang yuan in Chinese has a similar pronunciation with "tuanyuan”, which implies family union, harmony and happiness.
Tang yuan is in accordance with people's inner hope. Therefore, the Lantern Festival gains new cultural meaning.
It implies the traditional concept of filial piety and family,
carries forward the Chinese nation's folk culture,
enriches our spiritual civilization,
and showsthe national economic development and gradually improved people's living standard.
Times are changing.
No matter how yuan xiao, lanterns or fireworks change, the continuation of the Lantern Festival traditional customs and people’s sincere feelings tothe Festival will remain unchanged.