Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chinese Lantern Festival 2013

猜 灯 谜
cāidēngmí


Fifteen days after the Chinese New Year there is the Lantern Festival. This traditional festival is celebrated in China, but in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Koshogatsu in Japan too. This event officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations on the fifteenth lunar day.

There are many different beliefs about the origin of the Lantern Festival. 

One belief is about Taiyi, the God of Heaven, who controlled the destiny of the human world. Since first one, all the Chinese emperors ordered splendid ceremonies each year to ask Taiyi to bring favorable weather and good health to him and his people.

Another belief is this day is the birthday of Tianguan, the Taoist god responsible for good fortune, who liked all types of entertainment, so followers prepared various kinds of activities during which they prayed for good fortune.

A common legend is the humans angered the Jade Emperor in Heaven, and the divinity planned a storm of fire to destroy the villages on the fifteenth lunar day. To prevent the punishment, people hung red lanterns around their houses, carried lanterns and did set up bonfires on the streets and exploded firecrackers. This would give the villages the appearance of being on fire. The Jade Emperor was deceived and everyone avoided the destruction. After that, the emperor decreed that people should do the same thing every year.

In any case, the brightest lanterns and red color are symbolic of good luck and hope in China.

During the Lantern Festival, people traditionally hang paper lanterns around houses and go out on the streets carrying small lanterns at night. Today, the light of lanterns is from the electricity, and people likes to design lanterns using zodiac animals, historical figures, saints and gods of Taoism or Buddhism. The current year's animal symbol of the Chinese calendar is also a very popular subject. The modern Lantern Festival has evolved into exchange event which is full of cultural content but commercial value too.




 




You can review last post about Chinese New Year 2013


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