The Lantern Festival or the Spring Lantern Festival is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the Chinese lunisolar calendar.

The Lantern Festival marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. It also acts as an Uposatha day on the Chinese calendar. As early as the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE-CE 25), it had become a festival with great significance. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns (simplified Chinese: 猜灯谜; traditional Chinese: 猜燈謎; pinyin: cāidēngmí).

In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs. For example, lanterns are now often made in the shape of animals. The lanterns can symbolize the people letting go of their past selves and getting new ones, which they will let go of the next year. The lanterns are almost always red to symbolize good fortune.

In Hong Kong and Taiwan, it is commercialized as the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day. It is not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival; which is sometimes also known as the “Lantern Festival” in locations such as Singapore and Malaysia.

Now the Lantern Festival is becoming popular in Western countries. In London, the United Kingdom has the Magical Lantern Festival.

Tangyuan
Tangyuan ‘湯圓’ (Rice ball) is eaten during the Lantern Festival, a glutinous rice ball typically filled with sweet red bean paste, sesame paste, or peanut butter. The Chinese people believe the round shape of the balls, and the bowls in which they are served symbolize family togetherness, and eating tangyuan may bring the family happiness and good luck in the new year.

Reference: http://www.wikipedia.org 2018