Happiness of Lantern Festival celebration returns

By Peng Yukai, Zhang Wenjie (People's Daily Online) 17:31, February 03, 2023

The Lantern Festival or Yuanxiao Festival, the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, marks the end of Chinese New Year celebrations. It falls on February 5 this year.

With a history of more than 2,000 years, celebrations for the traditional folk festival include a series of activities such as family reunions, feasts, light shows, and diverse festive folk-art performances.

As China started managing COVID-19 using measures designed for combating Class B infectious diseases starting from Jan. 8, the festival’s long-waited vitality and happiness have returned, as people come out to celebrate the historical tradition.

Here are some of the highlights from a series of colorful festival celebrations.

Temple fairs

Several temple fairs opened in Beijing during this year's Chinese New Year holiday. Shijingshan amusement park is one of these exciting destinations.

Dragon and lion dances, folk performances, as well as "iron flowers," in which molten iron is splashed around to create fireworks, can all be seen at the Shijingshan amusement park.


The biggest attraction of the Lantern Festival is the sea of lanterns of every conceivable size and shape. This is a festival for people to have fun.

People take to the streets at night with various lanterns under the full moon. A festival featuring lanterns is also held at the China National Arts and Crafts Museum.


Just as the name implies, an essential part of the Lantern Festival, or Yuanxiao Festival, is eating yuanxiao or tangyuan. The glutinous rice ball is usually filled with sweet stuffing such as red bean paste, sesame paste, peanut butter, or even osmanthus flowers and rose petals.

People believe that the round shape of the ball and its sweet fillings symbolize family unity, completeness, and happiness for the entire year.

The way to make yuanxiao varies between northern and southern China. In north China, the filling must be cut into little cubes, dipped lightly into water, and rolled in a flat basket containing dry glutinous rice flour, until they become balls.

Sticking on the powder layer by layer gives yuanxiao a more chewy taste. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Wu Chengliang)


Related Stories