Wednesday, March 9, 2022

China: Lantern Day

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.  --Albert Camus

After Chinese New Year, there is another holiday to celebrate the coming of spring: Lantern Day. On that night, the streets are lit up with lanterns, people watch dragon dances, and eat round sticky balls that are shaped like a full moon.  In each lantern, there is supposedly a riddle that begs to be answered. Fireworks light up the sky. This has been the traditional Valentine's Day for 1,500 years in China. 

Anciently, there was a curfew on the streets of China, but on Lantern Day, young men and women could roam the streets with lanterns hanging from posts and homes to honor their romantic love. They did not have a curfew on this night. Hopefully, they could find their love wandering on that night. Here is a poem from the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) from poet Xin Qiji called The Lantern Festival Night,

But in the crowd once and again, 

I look for her in vain. 

When all at once I turn my head, 

I find her there where lantern light is dimly shed.

           Lanterns are everywhere and most people are carrying them as they walk around. A shining radiance and the feeling of warmth are everywhere. Everyone is happy because spring has begun. Here are some pictures on the streets at Lantern Day--a day of luminosity and romantic love.