Lantern Festival, also called Yuan Xiao Festival, falls on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. This is the first full moon of the new year, symbolizing unity and perfection.
Lantern Festival this year will happen on February 11. Traditionally, people eat Tang Yuan or Yuan Xiao, enjoy various kinds of lanterns and solve riddles written on the lanterns during the festival.
When talking about Tang Yuan or Yuan Xiao, people always feel confused about the difference between them. They are both round sticky dumplings with fillings, but there are also distinct differences, with Yuanxiao more popular in northern China and Tangyuan in the south. Also, the ways to make them are different. The usual method to make Tang Yuan is to shape the dough of rice flour into balls, make a hole, insert the filling, then close the hole and smooth out the dumpling by rolling it between your hands. While in making Yuan Xiao, the fillings are pressed into hardened cores, dipped lightly in water and rolled in a flat basket containing dry glutinous rice flour until the dumpling is the desired size.
Apart from eating Tang Yuan or Yuan Xiao, enjoying lanterns and solving riddles are the traditional ways to celebrate this festival. If you happen to be in Guangzhou, Silk Road Post recommends places for you to enjoy the lanterns and have fun during the hilarious day.
The Lantern Show in Yuexiu Park, lasting through February 27, will be a good choice. The show displays 50 sets of illuminations, 15 stereo flowerbeds, about 10,000 potted flowers, and over 100,000 atmospheric lanterns. With peonies and phoenixes serving as the main attractions, this show combines bright illuminations and stereo flowerbeds to forge a lantern show characterized by Lingnan culture.
Another lantern show in Guangzhou Culture Park will run from February 10 to February 12. During the show, many activities will be presented to visitors like enjoying the lanterns, solving riddles, visiting various exhibitions, watching theatrical performances.
Yuexiu Temple Fair, is another must-see program during the festival. The Temple Fair, a Cantonese style cultural carnival by combing traditional celebration with modern lifestyle, will kick off at Zhongshan Road and Beijing Road on February 11 and last until February 17. Programs include special folk culture performances and folk parades. Other activities to be offered are exhibitions of handcrafted articles and the sale of traditional small commodities and food.
(By Chris Wang, Louis berney)