All about the Chinese Lantern Festival

元宵节 (Yuánxiāo jié), which is called the Lantern Festival, is one of the main traditional festivals of the Chinese. Literally, 元 indicates the beginning, 宵 indicates the night. Thus, the festival is celebrated on the first full moon of the lunar new year. It is also called 上元节(shàng yuán jié) or 小正月(xiǎo zhēngyuè), and it falls on the fifth of the first month in the lunar calendar. It`s considered the last and a very important festival during the whole Chinese Spring Festival period.

The customs of the Lantern Festival are not the same throughout China. In general, 吃元宵 (chī yuánxiāo, eating the rice dumplings), 赏花灯(shǎng huā dēng, enjoying lanterns), 舞龙舞狮 (wǔ lóng wǔ shī, dancing dragons and lions) are some of the important folk customs of the Lantern Festival. Since ancient times, the custom of this Festival is known for the warm and festive lighting of lanterns. Different localities celebrate in their own ways and have their own distinct characteristics.


(chī yuánxiāo) eat rice dumplings


(nào huā dēng) enjoying lanterns


(cāi dēngmí) guess the lantern riddles


(wǔ lóng wǔ shī) dancing dragons and lions

正月 zhēngyuè The first month of the lunar year
灯笼 dēnglóng Lanterns
元宵 / 汤圆 yuánxiāo/ tāngyuán The rice dumplings
烟花 yānhuā Fireworks
满月 mǎnyuè Full moon
赏月 shǎng yuè Enjoy the moon
放河灯 fàng hé dēng Set river lights
团团圆圆 tuántuán yuán yuán Get reunion
闹元宵 nào yuánxiāo Celebrate the Lantern Festival