The Chinese Lantern Festival 2020 will be celebrated on the 15th day of the Lunar Chinese New Year under the light of the first full moon.
Children sometimes carry lanterns during the festival and families often decorate their homes with New Year’s lanterns.
Myths and Legends (神話傳說)
Two well-known legends shared in Chinese homes explain the origins of this popular holiday.
Celestial Bird & the Jade Emperor (天鳥與玉皇): Once a celestial bird descended from Heaven and flew to earth where it was killed by hunters. The Jade Emperor of heaven was angered by this as the bird was his favorite. So, he devised a plan to destroy the village and its residents by raining down fire on their homes on the 15th day of the Lunar Chinese New Year.
Depending on which version you read, the villagers were warned either by the Emperor’s daughter or other heavenly beings. On the 15th lunar day the villagers hung red lanterns outside their homes and set off firecrackers to give the Jade Emperor the impression that the village was burning. Believing the fire destroyed everything and everyone in it, the Jade Emperor didn’t carry out his plan.
Yuanxiao (yuan小): Another legend tells of a girl named Yuanxiao who worked in the palace during the Han Dynasty and whose duties kept her from visiting her parents. She was so grieved at not being able to visit her family that she threaten to kill herself, but a wise man by the name of Dongfang Shuo (dong放s貨) came up with a plan to save the her.
Dongfang Shuo told the Emperor Han Wudi (Han W u第) that the Jade Emperor of heaven had called on the Fire god to destroy the city on the 16th lunar day. He convinced the Emperor that since the Fire god loved red lanterns he and his city could avoid disaster by displaying lanterns throughout the streets on the 15th lunar day.
On that night the Emperor and Empress along with all the palace concubines and court officials came out to gaze at the beautiful lanterns. While they were distracted, Yuanxiao was able to leave for home to visit her family.
Lunar Chinese Lantern Festival 2020 (2020年農曆元宵節)
This Lunar Chinese Lantern Festival 2020 is as always a much anticipated celebration that the entire community is eager to participates in. Lanterns are hung in local temples, families hang lanterns in and around their homes, people carry lanterns in the parade and children try to solve the riddles found on the lanterns. The Dragon Dance takes place toward the end of the Lantern Festival and for many it is the highlight of the evening festivities.
The Spring Festival is a time for families only. There are reunion dinners going on all around where relatives friends and family members all are invited or visit someone close to them.
As for the Chinese Lantern Festival it is the last and 15th day of the spring festival, thus marking an end to all the celebrations for everyone. Life goes back to normal right from the next day.
But it is the lantern festival where everyone is allowed to socialize and every one comes out to light the lanterns and push them up in the sky. Children, adults, male female everyone is present to celebrate with their loved ones, unlike in the old days when women of China were not allowed to come out. But as we move forward towards the future, civilizations have started to set new trends and norms in their culture.
May this Spring Festival bring peace, prosperity, love and happiness in all of our lives.