In traditional Chinese culture, the Lantern Festival is celebrated on the final day of the New Year Celebration. This typically falls in February or early March, depending on the Gregorian calendar. If you’ve never attended this festival before, you really should consider doing so for all the reasons explained in detail below.
1- It Feels Magical
The American culture has always had an infatuation with Christmas lighting. In fact, each year many millions of citizens adorn their houses with these bright lights to bring a magical feel to the season. When it comes to a Chinese lantern festival, there are many bright lights which illuminate tons of silk, ceramic, and satin handcrafted lanterns. Seeing all the artistry alongside the lights allows for an unbelievable landscape that you’ll never forget. Plus, you can enjoy the lovely fireworks that light up the night sky during the celebration.
2- You Can Make New Friends
Many lantern festivals start early and go through the night. You can expect to meet many new people while you’re attending the event. Most will also include food, shopping, music, and other ancient Chinese traditions that will allow you to learn the culture in a hands-on fashion. Since most of the time during the show you’ll be holding a lantern near other people, it’s likely you’ll get to chat and make some new connections while you take in the event.
3- You Can Celebrate Life
Chinese lanterns are sent off into the sky for many different reasons. Some are for a celebration of the new year while others are for remembering the lives of those who have gone before us. By releasing your own Chinese lantern, you can celebrate the memories of those who you have lost and be joyful for the life that you and your family currently have. It’s really a surreal experience when you attach your own life to the floating lantern and let it send off into the night sky.
4- Learn More About the Chinese Culture
These events are great for helping you to expand your knowledge about Chinese culture. With many different shows, local artistry, and music, you can engage with those who have a wealth of wisdom about Chinese culture. This can be a great event to bring the kids and let them gain some cultural knowledge as well. You can take in the traditional dragon dance, walking stilts, and work on guessing the answers to the lantern riddles. If you can guess the right answer to a riddle, the owner of the lantern will give out a small price.
5- Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
The cultural experience that comes along with one of these events is something that will be likely new to a lot of people. You can enjoy being part of the many shows as the Chinese performers love pulling in audience members to join them in the celebration. Chinese lantern events are an active type of show that you don’t experience with other types of viewing. You don’t go to a theatre and sit down for it. Rather, you are active in more of a county fair like setting intertwined with Chinese culture. This is a great chance to step out of your comfort zone and participate in something truly beautiful.
6- Enjoy Traditional Chinese Cuisine
Since this is a Chinese cultural event, you can expect to have an array of Chinese cuisine to choose from. The most popular food item on the menu is the rice ball. These are known in Chinese culture as yuanxiao and tangyuan. They’re filled with peanut butter, sesame paste, or bean paste depending on what type you would like to try. These dumpling balls can be found steamed, fried, or boiled depending on your preference.
While a lantern festival may not be something that you’re used to, it can be a new event that you enjoy attending each and every year. The above are just six of the most common benefits that you can personally gain from going to one of these lighting events. We encourage you to try the experience for yourself as we’re sure that you’ll notate many more benefits that we didn’t cover above.