Wishing You a Joyous Lantern Festival! Celebrated February 9, 2009!

February 8, 2009

Lantern Festival photo courtesy beijingtips.cn

Lantern Festival photo courtesy beijingtips.cn

Lantern Festival, also known as “Yuan Xiao Festival,”  takes place on the fifteenth day of the first moon. “Yuan Xiao” translates to “Little New Year.” It’s still February 8 in my part of the world, but Lantern Festival celebrations are underway in Asia, across the dateline from the US.

Last in a series of springtime celebrations, this “second New Year” is widely celebrated by Chinese families all around world. Lantern Festival signals the end of the lunar New Year celebrations as marked on the ancient Asian calendar and in traditions.

In the Chinese tradition, specifically, the beginning of a new year is marked by a bright full moon in the sky, so families hang colorful lanterns for everyone to appreciate. Part of the fun includes puzzles on the lanterns, and people enjoy trying to solve the puzzles.

As always, food plays a large part in a celebration, especially in China, and the traditional treat for Lantern Festival is yuanxiao (glutinous rice ball), which is a sweet treat. Do you notice the rice balls look like full moons? They are made with butter, sesame, sugar and a special rice flour that gives them a jelly-like texture. You can’t eat only one, after you taste this!

The Lantern Festival is a time when all family members and communities are united in celebration and a joyful atmosphere.

Yuanxiao sweet treat, courtesy ChinaPictures.org

Yuanxiao sweet treat, courtesy ChinaPictures.org

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: