Chinese people celebrate Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, marks the end of Chinese New Year celebrations. It is also celebrated on the first Full Moon of the Lunar Year. So what activities that people usually do during that time. Lots of activities can be enjoyed all over China. People will eat yuanxiao or tangyuan, set the lantern at home, or just attend different activities of the Lantern Festival in each city. Here's how you can celebrate in destinations around the country.
Guessing Lantern Riddles
Besides eating yuanxiao (made of sweet rice flour) and enjoy lantern festival, guessing lantern riddles is an essential part of the Festival. Locals can visit famous temples in their city where usually host this activity. Lantern owners write riddles on a piece of paper and post them on the lanterns. If visitors have the answers to the riddles, they can pull the paper out and go to the lantern owners to check their answer. If they are right, they will get a little gift.
The Lion Dance
Lion and dragon dances, acrobatic performances and fireworks are also features of this special day. This famous lion dance is not only popular in China, but also gaining its popularity outside China. The lion dance is supposed to bring good luck and is one of the most spectacular of New Year traditions. It is performed by two dancers: one at the head and one at the tail of the Lion. To make the lion more life-like, the eyelids, mouth and ears of the lion usually move. Players should have special skills trained it before.
Lantern Festival Celebration All over China
Tazi Shan Park is also the site of an annual Lantern Fair, an event highlighted by illuminated lanterns of all shapes and sizes. Jinli Street in Chengdu is also a great place to go, host annual temple fair. Activities will include Chinese traditional performances, extensive exhibitions of Chinese art and crafts, stalls of Chinese delicacies, and beloved Chinese traditions such as lantern riddles.
Different regions in China have their own special traditions, so does along Qinhuai River, a branch of the Yangtze River runs through central Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province. Though shuttling boats with red lanterns and beautiful geishas were already historical things, the tradition of enjoying lanterns and guessing riddles along the river bank has been inherited till now.
Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, is the most important traditional festival in China. It begins on the first day of the first lunar month (usually in late January or early February) and ends on the 15th day of the first lunar month (Lantern Festival). Chinese New Year 2014 (Chinese Spring Festival) will be on Jan. 31, 2014, and the year of 2014 is the year of horse. The country will welcome Year of the Horse with timeless tradition. Locals flock to aromatic temples to pray for good fortune, fill themselves with auspicious foods and string up shock-red lanterns.
2014 is the year of horse. In Chinese astrology, Horse year is considered a fortunate year that brings luck and good things. Horse (马) year in Chinese means all of the good things will comes very soon. (马上有福,马上有礼). In some famous Chinese proverb, Horse also identically with good fortune and event. More than just festival and celebration, Spring Festival is the important time when all big family will gather together to celebrate it together. It has a deep meaning which is let all family in far distance come back home and celebrate the festival together with the elder.
This period of time, most Chinese will be at home with their families and there will be less people at tourist attractions. People will clean their house and decorate it properly to welcoming the New Year. Commonly, they will decorate house with couplets, highlighting Chinese calligraphy with black characters on red paper wishes for a bright future and good luck for the whole next year. Besides the famous Chinese character "fu" 福(meaning blessing or happiness), big red lanterns and others red paper-cuttings can also be seen on the front door, window glass and on the wall.
After all family member gather together, commonly they will have a big luxurious dinner at home. This called family reunion dinner. Dishes such as chicken, fish and bean curd cannot be excluded, for in Chinese, their pronunciations, respectively "ji", "yu" and "doufu," mean auspiciousness, abundance and richness. Moreover, glutinous rice cakes or also called Nian Gao in Chinese have an interesting meaning for better life and dumplings which means rich. Not only for its delicious taste, all of those traditional Chinese food also has own meaning behind.
After the banquet, all family members share the Spring Festival Gala Evening, a performance on CCTV loved by people at home and abroad. The event will broadcast for about 5 hours from 8:00 pm till 1:00 am. When the clock strikes 12 o'clock midnight of New Year's Eve, people light firecrackers and fireworks. It is one of the most popular ways of celebrating the spring festival coming.
The lively atmosphere is full of households, streets, as well as lanes commonly happen till the morning. More than that, as tradition people also will wear new clothes to welcome the New Year coming. And at the early morning, people greet relatives and friends with congratulations and wish good luck to each other.
For you who have any plan for visit Shanghai in New Year Eve, there are lots of interesting activities that you can do or join. For free, visitors are able to enjoy the big fireworks display in one of the landmarks of the city, such as, People Square or Nanjing Road.
Although Chinese celebrate their own Chinese New Year in January and February, but western New Year get more and more attention among Chinese. Here, we can give you some tips for spend your New Year Eve memorable in Shanghai.
1. 3D laser and firework show along Huangpu River
Firework Show along Huangpu River
New Year will not be complete without some big fireworks shows. And in Shanghai, people will able to enjoy and admire its beauty along Huangpu River, the main river in Shanghai. The laser show will start one hour before midnight and light up both the Bund and Binjiang Avenue on either bank of the Huangpu River.
The climax of the spectacle will take place 15 minutes before the midnight countdown. All the laser lights along the Bund will be turned on simultaneously, and four boats on the Huangpu will set off fireworks one after another.
2. Bell Ring Ceremony
Wishing the Best for Next Year
Bell ringing ceremony annually held in Longhua Temple, the city's oldest temple dating back 1,800 years or more. Shanghai natives have been flocking there to attend the bell-ringing ceremony on New Year's Eve and Lunar New Year's Eve since 1988. By ringing the historic old Buddhist Bell, they believe, it will bring luck and send their wishes for the new next year. It is one of the old culture of local people which believe can bring good fortune over the next 12 months. For the first lucky 108 people who make reservations for the event are given the opportunity to ring the 3,000-kilo bell (limited to one "dong" each around midnight). After the bell ringing ceremony, there visitors can enjoy other celebrations including lion dances, fireworks and folk performances.
3. Have Your Own Celebration Arrangements
Besides two interesting activities above, Shanghai has offer much more than your imaginations. Come to Shanghai during New Year Eve would not be boring for sure. The city boasts lots of cafes, bars, and restaurants with its own superb arrangement in New Year's Eve. Even in your own hotel, you can relax back and enjoy great foods as well as its well organized arrangements for celebrate New Year. Book accommodation and flights in advance for you who are looking for to spend New Year Eve in Shanghai!