CNY Day 11: Preparing for the Lantern Festival 元宵节
Traditionally, the 11th day of the Chinese New Year is when the wife’s father would invite his son-in-law to a fancy meal at home. It not only provides quality bonding time between the two families, but also a chance to clear out the leftovers from the celebratory food for the Jade Emperor’s birthday on the 9th. It is exactly as a Chinese idiom says, 一举两得 (yī jǔ liǎng dé, to kill two birds with one stone.)
In a small town called Bin Yang in Guang Xi province, however, people celebrate the 11th with a different tradition – they host a Dragon Dance Festival (炮龙节 pào lóng jié). 炮龙 is a large size of dancing dragon that is said to bring good luck to the locals. Wherever the dragon goes, people will come out of the door and greet him with firecrackers.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="533"]The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall during the lantern festival. Courtesy of Creative Commons[/caption]
Of course, the 11th also marks the beginning of the Lantern Festival that falls on the 15th of the New Year. As the folksong goes:
shí yī rǎng zhā zhā ，shí èr dā dēng péng
shí sān rén kāi dēng ，shí sì dēng zhèng míng ，
shí wǔ xíng yuè bàn ，shí liù rén wán dēng
Get excited on the 11th,
Build the lantern racks on the 12th,
Light up the lanterns on the 13th.
Come and enjoy the illuminated night on the 14th,
Then on the 15th, the full moon shines above, the lights glitter down below,
We have celebrated another Lantern’s Day by the 16th.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Yummy Tang Yuan. Courtesy of Creative Commons[/caption]
Are you ready to celebrate the Lantern Festival 元宵节(yuán xiāo jié)? It is time to shop for the delicious sweet dumplings 汤圆 (tāng yuán) before they are out of stock!