Sunday, March 04, 2007
Today is the celebration of the Chinese Lantern festival. On the night of the festival, decorative lanterns depicting birds, beasts, historical figures, and any one of a number of different themes are carried by children or adorn temples. To highlight these glowing works of art, competitions are held . The Taipei Lantern Festival, held annually at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Plaza and the largest and most famous of these competitions, is attended every year by thousands of lantern-watchers. The Lantern Festival is further enriched by the customary lantern riddle parties that are held on this night.
The night sky on Lantern Festival is also illuminated by the Tainan Yanshui Fireworks Display and Taipei Pinghsi Sky Lanterns - known together as "Fireworks in the South, Sky Lanterns in the North," as well as many other regional folk activities.
In addition to displaying and appreciating lanterns, Lantern Festival is also celebrated by eating tang yuan, an important custom symbolizing family unity and indispensable to the day's festivities.
The varied festivities and customs practiced on Lantern Festival not only provide celebrants with rich entertainment, like the historical-theme lantern displays and riddles, but are also instructive, by their expression of ancient wisdom. The variety of splendid lantern features different folk art techniques, impressing these arts deep in the hearts and minds of the people.
We have a Chinese Cultural Center in our town, about six blocks from where we live. We could walk there. How cool is that? It wasn't here when we moved in. It was built only a few years ago. Tonight they had some beautiful floats in the parking lot of the center, illuminated with thousands of beautiful lights. It was so pretty. Here are some pictures. Each float repsresents a Chinese legend. A little girl, about six, walked up to me while I was taking pictures and said "I know all of these legends. If you're Chinese, you have to know them." And then she walked away. It was pretty cute. I guess I'll be brushing up on my Chinese legends when Sophie is old enough to understand. They were giving out some very cute lanterns that lit up and were shaped like pigs. They were very cute,but they were only giving them out to the children. Where are my niece and nephew when I need them? :)