The Dragon Boat Festival, the 5th day of the 5th lunar month,has had a history of more than 2,000 years. It is usually in June in the Gregorian calendar。
The Lantern Festival or Yuanxiao Jie is a traditional Chinese festival, which is on the 15th of the first month of the Chinese New Year. The festival marks the end of the celebrations of the Chinese New Year.
粽子tsung-tse/rice dumplings：Glutinous rice(糯米) filled with meat, nuts or bean paste(豆酱) and wrapped in bamboo leaves. The custom of eating tsung-tse is also popular in North and South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asian nations。
Chinese started to celebrate the Lantern Festival from the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 221 AD). Like most other Chinese festivals, there is also a story behind the Festival. It is also believed that the festival has Taoist origins.
Dragon boat racing is an indispensable part of the festival. As the gun is fired, people will see racers in dragon-shaped canoes pulling the oars harmoniously and hurriedly, accompanied by rapid drums, speeding toward their destination。
澳门皇家赌场，During the time of Emperor Han Wudi of the Han Dynasty , a palace woman named Yuanxiao was prevented from carrying out her filial duty of visiting her parents on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Distraught, she said she would kill herself by jumping into a well.
The Lantern Festival has been part of Chinese New Year celebrations since the Han Dynasty (206 BC- 221 AD). Usually held on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar, it marks the end of New Year festivities。
In order to help Yuanxiao fulfill her duty as a filial daughter, the scholar Dongfang Shuo came up with a scheme. He told Emperor Han Wudi that the Jade Emperor, the highest god in Heaven, had ordered the Fire God to burn down the capital city of Chang'an on the sixteenth day of the first lunar month.
It is said that the holiday evolved from an ancient Chinese belief that celestial spirits could be seen flying about in the light of the first full moon of the lunar calendar. To aid them in their search for the spirits they used torches. These torches gave way to lanterns of every shape, size and colour。
Anxious to find a way to save his city, the emperor asked Dongfang Shuo what he should do. Dongfang Shuo replied that the Fire God loved red lanterns more than anything. He advised that the streets be hung with red lanterns, and the emperor, empress, concubines, and court officials come out of the palace to see them. In this way, the Fire God would be distracted and disaster averted.
The Lantern Festival is also popularly referred to as the Chinese Valentine’s Day because in days of old it gave girls and boys a rare chance to go out in the evening and mingle. Today, lantern festivals are held each year in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan to mark the end of Chinese New Year celebrations. Competitions are held to select the best lanterns。
The emperor followed Dongfang Shuo's advice, and while everyone was out viewing the lanterns, Yuanxiao was able to sneak out of the palace and be reunited with her parents.
Although the above stories are quite fantastical, it is sure that the origins of Lantern Festival are related to ancient humanity's use of fire to celebrate festivals and avert disaster. Since Lantern Festival involves making offerings to the deities and is celebrated at night, it is natural that fire would play an important role.
The lanterns come in all shapes and sizes. Some are created in the form of animals, insects, flowers, people or even machines or buildings. Others depict scenes from popular stories teaching filial piety and traditional values. A favourite subject is the zodiac animal of the year
- which in 2014 will be the horse。
Over time, Lantern Festival gradually evolved into its present form. When Buddhism was introduced to China during the Eastern Han Dynasty , the emperor decreed that on the night of the full moon of the first lunar month, lanterns should be lit to honor Buddha, adding yet another level of significance to Lantern Festival.
Lantern riddles (caideng mi)
And according to Daoism, Lantern Festival is associated with the primordial deities of Heaven and Fire, who were born on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month.
Part of the lantern festival tradition involves a game to guess riddles attached to the lanterns. In the old days the riddles were obscure literary allusions to the Chinese classics and so were mainly the preserve of the educated classes。
This is a festival for people having fun. On the night of the festival, people go on streets with a variety of lanterns under the full moon, watching lions or dragon dancing, playing Chinese riddles and games, and lighting up firecrackers. There is really a lot of fun for the young and the old.
吃元宵 Eating Yuanxiao
Like most Chinese festivals, the Lantern Festival has its own special food, called "tang yuan". These are round, glutinous rice dumplings with sweet or spicy fillings. The dumplings are said to symbolise both the first full moon and family unity and completeness。