Today, on the 15th of the first Lunar month, the Spring Lantern Festival (Yuan-xian Festival) takes place. It is the first full moon night (Yuan-Xian), which symbolizes the beginning of spring. Chinese people have celebrated this special day since Western Han Dynasty and many old traditions are linked to it.
Eating rice dumplings(Tang-yuan), hanging up lanterns and solving the lanterns’ riddles are the traditional activities. Chinese people like to have sweet soup with rice dumplings as they believe eating food in round shape symbolizes family reunion. It is similar to the belief of the family staying together when looking at a round full moon.
There is a story behind lighting and hanging up lanterns. Back in the Eastern Han Dynasty, Emperor Hanmingdi, an advocate of Buddhism, learned that the monks light lanterns in temples on the 15th of the first Lunar month. He ordered people to follow to show his respect to Buddha. The activities of lighting and watching lanterns still exist nowadays. Since the Song Dynasty, people write riddles on paper and stick them into the lanterns. Solving the lantern’s riddles became an ordinary Spring Lantern festival activity.
Today is also known as the “Chinese Valentine’s Day”. In the old patriarchal society, young girls rarely had a chance to go out. On the Spring Lantern Festival, they were allowed to go outside in the evening to watch lanterns and spend time at the market. It is a treasurable opportunity for them to meet their lovers. In the old days, singles would also play matchmaking games on the streets.
To celebrate Spring Lantern Festival in Hong Kong, you can go experience the Lunar New Year Lantern Carnivals and Youth Nights 2018 this weekend. Large-scale folk songs, mass dance performances and a series of amusing activities are taking place in Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza, Hong Kong Velodrome Park (Tseung Kwan O) and Tung Chung North Park. You can enjoy the lantern-making exhibition and multiple performances at the same time. Enjoy your special Spring Lantern Festival there!
More Events to come
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza: 7:30-9:30pm, 2 March
Tung Chung North Park: 7:30-9:30pm, 3 March
Hong Kong Veladrome Park: 7:30-9:30pm, 4 March
Tung Chung North Park: 7:30-10pm, 2 March
Hong Kong Veladrome Park: 7:30-10pm, 3 March
Tung Chung North Park: 6-11pm, 2-4 March
Hong Kong Velodrome Park: 6-11pm, 2-4 March
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza: 6-11pm, 2-4 March
Hong Kong Intangible Cultural Heritage –
Exhibition on Traditional Paper Crafting
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza 6-11pm,2-6 March