‘Chinese New Year is the big event for us … in China,” said Angela Law, secretary of the Yellowknife Chinese Association.
On the 15th day of the first lunar month, two weeks after Chinese New Year, another important traditional Chinese festival, the Chinese Lantern Festival or Yuan Xiao Jie or Yuanxiao Festival (元宵节), is celebrated. It marks the first full moon of the new lunar year and the end of the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) period. Chinese Lantern Festival 2022 will be celebrated on Tuesday, February 15th in 2022″ – https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/chinese-lantern-festival-yellowknife-1.5913565.
While the rest of the world celebrates the New Year for one day, the Chinese celebrate it for 15 days straight. The celebration that starts on New Year’s Eve ends with the most famous festival, ‘The Chinese lantern festival”.
“The Lantern Festival aims to promote reconciliation, peace, and forgiveness. During the festival, houses are festooned with colorful lanterns, often with riddles written on them; if the riddle is answered correctly, the solver earns a small gift. Festival celebrations also include lion and dragon dances, parades, and fireworks. Small glutinous rice balls filled with fruits and nuts, called yuan xiao or tangyuan, are eaten during the festival. The round shape of the balls symbolizes wholeness and unity within the family. The menu is carefully chosen to include dishes associated with luck” – https://www.britannica.com/topic/Lantern-Festival.
The Chinese lantern festival welcomes the New Year with an open heart while letting go of the past year. The New Year festival goes up for 15 days. These days, food that is associated with good luck is served, which includes fish, dumplings, and pudding. Dumpling looks like gold Ingot, which is why they are associated with luck, whereas pudding symbolizes achievement.
They clean their homes thoroughly; by doing this, it is believed that bad luck is also wiped from the house.
All of the 15 days are about hangout and family dinners, except the third one, which is the worship day.
Buying footwear in those days was discouraged, and wearing red was encouraged. The married couple gives candy to the children in a red bag, and it is a way to wish them luck.
On Chinese lantern day, dances are performed like lion and dragon dances, which symbolize power. Other than this, fireworks and parades are also done on this day.
Riddles are also written on lanterns with the help of colorful paper. When a person solves the riddle, a small gift is given to him.
There are many stories about the origin of this festival. They are as follows:
The first story says that it started in the Han dynasty. The Buddhist monks used to light lanterns on this particular day. So, the people adopted their practice, and a tradition was born.
According to another story, it started when an emperor became angry with his people for killing his goose. The king thus ordered to burn the whole village down. The day it was planned to do so, a fairy came (some say it was the princess) and told them to light a lantern. When the king saw so many lanterns glowing, he thought that someone had set the village on fire already. Hence, the lives of many innocent people get saved, and people celebrate this day every year as they get saved by the wrath of the king.
Whichever story you may believe, it is important to respect the other’s point of view as well.
It celebrates the physical world, family, and the spiritual world all at once.”
According to some people, lanterns are lit up so deceased souls can find their way back to their homes because it is believed that the departed souls come and visit their homes on this eve.