Lanterns

During the Chinese New Year, one of the celebrations is that of the lantern festival. Come let us find out the myth behind it.

Yuan Xiao is the Chinese lantern festival that is celebrated during the time of the New Year. Lantern is a significant symbol associated with the Chinese New Year. Yuan word is derived from the year’s first month and word Xiao comes from the word night as related to, by the Chinese people.

Fifteen days after entering the New Year, when the first full moon night is observed, the lantern festival is celebrated that night. It is to celebrate the joyful environment when the first full moon of the New Year is seen shining brightly. Chinese people get together at the festival site and together they hold their lanterns up trying to create a beautifully lit up surrounding.

Chinese lanterns are designed with great detailing. Often you would find riddles featuring on them that would get you rather busy in solving them and they are hardly, normal lanterns! The lantern festival is accompanied by eating rice balls which are shared with closed ones during this season.

The beginings of the lantern tradition

The legend that is most popular linked with the Lantern New Year event is that, God Taiyi who reigned over the heavens in the ancient era was prayedby the people in this festival. This is one of the many mythologies associated with the traditional New Year lantern festival.

It was believed that Earth had its good fortune at risk in the hands of the god of heavens, Taiyi. He was attributed to have the power to punish the humans through natural disasters or epidemics. Quishihuang was the ancient Chinese ruler who started the ceremonies in order to acknowledge the lord and to satisfy him. This would prevent any risks of natural hazards and safeguard people’s security.

The New Year ceremony became very fashionable during Han dynasty as they got a great support from the ruler. However, later, king Wudi made this ceremony even more special and prominent so much so that the celebrations were night long and huge.

The story behind the lantern festival however had a different explanation too that said the Taoists influenced these celebrations. The fortune of the Chinese people was in the hands of the Taoist lord Tianguan, apparently, and he seemed to have taste for Chinese entertainment. Hence, the Chinese took to satisfying him by, celebrating on the streets and performing various performances to keep him happy.

The origin of the day of lighting lanterns was apparently discovered by King Mingdi, as a different story says. This story states that he was under Buddhist influence and one dream had led to the extraordinary choice of the fifteenth day of the New Year as the day to commemorate the event of lighting lanterns.

There might have been various sides to the historical story behind the reason to celebrate the lantern festival but nonetheless this event is a significant celebration of the New Year season. The lanterns are specially decorated with traditional designs on them.

Making Chinese new year lanterns can be a fun way of engaging kids in their heritage. For information about other aspects of the celebrations, including Chinese new year fireworks, please follow the links.