China Pictorials 中国

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chinese people celebrate the colorful Lantern Festival 元宵节

Lantern Festival (Yuanxiao Festival 元宵节 or Shangyuan Festival 上元节) is a traditional festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar year in the Chinese calendar, the last day of the lunisolar Chinese New Year celebration.

The first month of the Chinese calendar is called yuan month, and in ancient times people called night xiao; therefore, the day is called Yuan Xiao Festival in mainland China and Taiwan. The fifteenth day is the first night to see a full moon in that lunar year. According to Chinese tradition, at the very beginning of a new year, when there is a bright full moon hanging in the sky, there should be thousands of colorful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate. At this time, people will try to solve puzzles on lanterns, eat yuanxiao (a glutinous rice ball) and enjoy a family reunion.

Illuminations are seen during the 18th Zigong International Dinosaur Lantern Festival in Zigong, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Jan. 23, 2012. Debuting in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), the Zigong Lantern Festival has been held for more than 1,000 years. Zigong Lantern Festival is one of the most famous lantern showcases in China, embodying the lantern culture. Lanterns made in Zigong have long enjoyed a good reputation.The numerous colorful lanterns turn night into day.

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