The 15th day of the 1st lunar month is the Chinese Lantern Festival because the first lunar month is called Yuán -month and in the ancient times people called night Xiāo. The 15th day is the first night to see a full moon. So the day is also called Yuán Xiāo Festival .
According to the Chinese tradition, at the very beginning of a new year, when there is a bright full moon hanging in the sky, there should be thousands of colorful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate. At this time, people will try to solve the puzzles on the lanterns and eat Yuán Xiāo (glutinous rice balls) and get all their families united in the joyful atmosphere.
DōngFāng Shuò & girl story in Lantern Festival .
According to legend,
In Hàn Dynasty, DōngFāng Shuò is a favorite advisor of the emperor.
One winter day, he went to the garden and heard a little girl crying and ready to jumping into well to suicide. DōngFāng Shuò stopped her and asked for why.
She was a maid in the emperor's palace and her name was Yuán Xiāo. She never have chance to meet her family after she worked at palace. She missed her young sister and parents so much every 12th lunar month. DōngFāng Shuò promised her to find a way for her family reunion. DōngFāng Shuò left the palace and put a table on the street and disguised as a fortuneteller. since his reputation, many people asked for the fortune. But every one had the same prediction - severely fire accident on 15th lunar day. The rumor spread quickly. Everyone worried about the future and asked DōngFāng Shuò for help. DōngFāng Shuò said, "On the 13th lunar day, the God of Fire will send a fairy lady in red to burn down the city. If you see a lady in red on the light pink silver donkey on that day, You should ask for her mercy." Yuán Xiāo acted the red fairy lady on that day. When people asked for her help, she said, "Yes. I'm the messenger of the God of Fire and come to check on the city and going to set up fire on 15th. This is an order from Emperor Yù Dì. He will watch from the heaven. I give you a copy of imperial decree from the God of Fire. You should go to ask your emperor to find a way out."
After she left, people went to palace to show emperor the decree which is written - capital city is in trouble, fire burns on the palace, heaven fire burns all night long on the 15th.
The emperor of Hàn Dynasty was greatly shocked. He called and asked DōngFāng Shuò for the advise. After pondering for a while, DōngFāng Shuò said, "I heard the God of Fire likes to taste Tang1Yuan2. Does Yuán Xiāo often cook TāngYuán for you? On the 15th lunar day, let Yuán Xiāo make TāngYuán. Your Majesty takes charge of the worship ceremony and gives order to every house to prepare TāngYuán to worship the God of Fire in the same time. Also, deliver another order to ask every house in the city to hang lantern and explode fire crackers. Plus, inform that everyone in the palace and people outside the city to carry their lanterns on the street to watch the lantern decoration and fireworks. In this way, Emperor Yù Dì would be deceived at heaven. Then everyone can be out of fire accident trouble." The emperor happily followed the plan.
Lanterns were everywhere in the capital city at the night of 15th lunar day. People were all moving on the street. Fire crackers kept making noisy. It looked like entire city on fire. Yuán Xiāo's parents went into the palace to watch the lantern decoration. Yuán Xiāo made a big lantern and wrote down her name outside the lantern. They happily reunited together after her parents called her name.
Everybody was safe during the night. The emperor of Hàn Dynasty had a new order that people should do the same thing every year. Because Yuán Xiāo cooked the best TāngYuán, people called the day as Yuán Xiāo festival.
The special food for the Lantern Festival is Yuán Xiāo or Tāng Yuán. These are round balls made with sticky rice flour. They can be filled and served as a sweet snack or made plain and cooked in a soup with vegetables, meat and dried shrimp. The round shape of the balls is a symbol of wholeness, completeness and unity.
The Lantern Festival is an occasion for families to get together and for everyone to have fun.