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Discover Guangzhou Self Guided Book is written by Janvi Tours, formerly Guangzhou Private Tour Guide Janvi or Guangzhou Tour Guide Janvi


Written by Janvi Chow
Published August 2018

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Home Travel Guide Festivals and Events The Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival

Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival is one of the most traditional festivals. Falling on the 15th day of the first Lunar Calendar month, it is a ‘festival within a festival', that considered as the end of Spring Festival. The people of Guangzhou are celebrating Lantern Festival along with Chinese Lunar New Year.

According to the historical records, the festival began to prevail during the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 24 A .D.) and flourished during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 A .D.) and Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 A .D.). Its present name is in fact derived from the Tang Dynasty custom of hanging out lanterns on the night of the festival. Lantern can break darkness, illuminate the land as well as bring brightness and hope to people. So the Lantern Festival has been observed by people for more than 1,000 years and celebrated all over the country.

On the night of the festival, temples and businesses are decorated with colorful lanterns made of paper, gauze and glass, painting with legendary figures, landscapes as well as the flowers and birds. There are also the performances of drums and dragon dance in the street and lanes. On the day, people will eat sweet round dumplings made of glutinous rice flour filled with various kinds of fillings. The snack is called Yuanxiao in Chinese, so the festival is also named the Yuanxiao Festival.

"Guessing lantern riddles"is an essential part of the Festival. Lantern owners write riddles on a piece of paper and post them on the lanterns. If visitors have solutions 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 activity emerged during people's enjoyment of lanterns in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). As riddle guessing is interesting and full of wisdom, it has become popular among all social strata.

Event: The lantern fair in Guangzhou is a civic exhibition of decorated lanterns. They are usually held in Yuexiu Park, Martyrs’ Park and Guangzhou Cultural Park.