The Lantern Festival 元宵节 (yuan xiao jie) is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar Chinese calendar. It marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. What do people do on Chinese Lantern Festival?  There are three signature activities that most Chinese people do annually.

 1. Eat Yuan Xiao also known as Tang Yuan

It is the tradition to spend time with family and eat sweet or salty sticky rice balls known as “tang yuan” 湯圓 or “yuan xiao” 元宵 . They can be filled with various fillings such as red bean paste or sesame.  The symbolic meaning for eating “tang yuan” 湯圓 or “yuan xiao” 元宵 is family togetherness. 

2. Visit the Lantern Display

In recent years, visiting lantern festival’s lantern exhibition has become a major event not only for Chinese but for tourists too.  Towards dark, the children carry paper lanterns, normally now with battery-operated lights to join the annual lantern festival celebrations, which are typically held at parks and monuments throughout the various towns and cities.  The design of the lanterns change each year according to the rotation of the twelve Chinese animal birth signs. This year is the year of the dog. There are wonderful lantern festival celebration events in China.  The biggest lantern festival is Qinhuai International Lantern Festival. 

3. Lantern Riddle Game

There is one more tradition during the Lantern Festival which is the Lantern Riddle Game – Yuán xiāo cāi dēng mí 元宵猜燈謎. It can be played by both adults and children. The riddles can be quite challenging and normally relate to history or the Chinese characters themselves. The riddles are attached to the lanterns and the person who can solve a riddle is eligible to win a prize.

More - Why Not Fly a Lantern?

Sky lantern is called  Tiān dēng 天燈 in Chinese.  It is also known as Kǒng míng dēng 孔明燈.  You can make your sky lantern or buy one.  You write your wishes on the paper sky lantern and then send it into the sky.  Look at the lanterns flying into the sky for the best wishes you dream of to be fulfilled!