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The lantern festival, comprehend by literal, is the lantern’s day,each and every family always have decorative lantern suspended in their house, to hope for a better future..
Date:2010/1/20 10:37:40 Reading:4245 From:The lantern festival, comprehend by literal, is the lantern’s day,each and every family always have decorative lantern suspended in their house, to hope for a better future..

The lantern festival, comprehend by literal, is the lantern’s day,each and every family always have decorative lantern suspended in their house, to hope for a better future..

The earliest historical record of the lantern festival is from the epoch of Han Wu emperor. The Han Wu emperor ascended the throne on the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar Year,when he exit the palace to hold a memorial ceremony for “Tai Yi”(a deity popular in that period),just in time met lantern activities in the folk society. So he appoint the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar Year to be the Lantern Festival,to show his aspiration to share happiness with the populace.   

During 713 to 741,people always have lanterns on for 3 days from the 13th day to the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar Year. Since the above activities were held in the evening,it is called “Yuan evening”、“Yuan sunset” or “Yuan night”. The main scenery  of this festival is the “preceding Yuan lantern”,so it is also called “lantern sunset”.

  
Lantern festival in QuanZhou originated from the Tang dynasty, when Tang nobles came to the south,the custom of decorative lantern was brought to QuanZhou.

  
Lantern festival in QuanZhou reached its peak at the Sung dynasty. To the Ming dynasty,even lanterns in HangZhou were manufactured by QuanZhou craftsmen.

  
Most of the contents of QuanZhou decorative lantern are landscapes of mountains and waters、historical people、animals, or pavilions and towers. etc. The lanterns with the most QuanZhou characteristic are “non- skeleton lantern” and “silk-material lantern”. And the “non- skeleton lantern” is the original works of QuanZhou,it is made of cardboard,different from ordinary lanterns which usually use bamboo as skeleton. The “silk-material lantern” is almost transparent in each aspect,very special, very beautiful when the light inside is on。

There are many articles describing QuanZhou decorative lantern from ancient times to the present. We’ll not enumerate them here, in a word, the QuanZhou decorative lantern is a sort of  art treasure which is worth a visit.

Here is some instances of decorative lantern cultures in QuanZhou:

  
Suspending Lanterns:

  
At the eve of the lantern festival, most of people would like to have lanterns suspended in their house, to construct a festival atmosphere.

  
Delivering Lanterns:

  
If a family have a daughter to marry in the coming year, they would buy a pair of rolled silk ball or lotus lantern, and send them to the son-in-law’s home, to pray for bearing a boy earlier.

  
Viewing Lanterns:

  
In the evening of the lantern festival,people always go into the street to enjoy the sight of lanterns.

  
Marching With Lanterns:

  
In the evening of the lantern festival,children usually march with a lantern in their hands.

  
Burning Lanterns(Robbing Lanterns):

  
In the vernacular language of QuanZhou ,“Lantern” has the same tone with “family number”,and “burning” or “robbing” in the lantern culture can be described by the same Chinese character with “add”.so Burning Lanterns stands for “adding a family member”, when burning a red lantern,it indicates the born of a girl, while a white lantern presages a boy;Robbing lanterns also means “adding a family member”, in the ancient lantern festival, paupers usually rob rich men of their lanterns, rich men robbed by them never get angry, but very happy,since it is a good augury in custom.

  
Lantern Riddles:

  
It is another interesting thing in the Lantern Festival. Riddles are pasted on lanterns,anybody who gets the key of a riddle can receive a prize from the host.

  
Preceding Yuan Lantern in TaoYuan, NanAn:

  
QuanZhou began to be built at the year of 700,at that time the city was very small,and the scale of preceding Yuan lantern activities couldn’t be put on a par with activities in northern cities. When it comes to the origin of the lantern custom,TaoYuan in NanAn always come into our head。

  
Preceding Yuan lantern in TaoYuan is very famous. In 885,the custom began to take place to bless the marriage between a honored official called Fu Shi and his wife, Huang. This is the origination of Preceding Yuan lantern in TaoYuan.

  
On the Preceding Yuan of the following year since their marriage, Huang’s parents sent a pair of red and white lotus lanterns,to bless them have a photograph of the whole family. From then on,preceding Yuan lantern became more and more popular. Every year, when the Preceding Yuan arrive, the Fu clan would have lanterns on, which has developed to be a custom.

  
On 1550,Fu Xiaqi got the first place in the successful candidate in the highest imperial examinations,and won glory for QuanZhou, for NanAn, and the Fu clan. On the Preceding Yuan of the following year,a large-scale lantern celebration was held by the Fu clan, people from more than ten villages all around came to attend,the atmosphere was specially cheerful.

  
During the period of the Ming Shen emperor,it was said that the white ape star would descend to the world in the evening of the Preceding Yuan,in the southern direction. When Fu Xiaqi knew the message, he held a large-scale lantern celebration to invite the white ape star. The Huang clan also joined in this competition, both of them did their best to attract the white ape star. You can imaging the decorative lanterns suspended from the eaves in the streets, what a brilliant sight!

  
In the emperor’s palace of the Tang dynasty, there was a couplet posted on gate posts which described the sight of the preceding Yuan lantern celebration, so you can imaging the status possessed by the preceding Yuan lantern.

Another event deserved to be mentioned is that during 5 p.m. to 7 p.m in the preceding Yuan lantern celebration,daughters-in-law in the Fu clan would be appointed to “diamond lantern feet”. And a newly-married woman from ShiPan borne Fu Wenlong, who also got a good result in the successful candidate in the highest imperial examinations. This is the origin of the “diamond lantern feet”.

Besides the above activities, there are still more instances of the lantern cultures in QuanZhou, for example, stringing lanterns in NanAn、counting palace lanterns in JinJiang, and marching the dragon of lantern in LanTianm, and so on. Most of them are related to the traditional Chinese culture, you see, in English, we are not able to describe activities related to the traditional Chinese accurately, so, if you’re interested in the QuanZhou decorative lantern, welcome to QuanZhou, we’ll provide you a enjoyment of sight, and more ancient stories implicated in our lanterns.

 

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