The 15th day of the first lunar month that falls on March 5 is the Lantern Festival of 2015. The day is also called Yuanxiao Festival, since the month is called “yuan yue” and the 15th day is the first night to see a full moon.
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 yuanxiao (glutinous rice balls) and get their families united in the joyful atmosphere.
The displaying of lanterns is a big event on the day throughout China. People enjoy the brightly lit night. Unfortunately, the traditional Lantern Festival celebration at Shanghai’s Yuyuan Garden has been canceled this year due to the Bund tragedy on the New Year’s Eve. Although the cancellation of lantern display disappoints many, you can still make homemade paper lanterns on your own.
Why not cut out, decorate and assemble your own rabbit lantern this year?
Click HERE to get a DIY lantern pattern and check out how to make a cute rabbit lantern all by your own!
Different types of Chinese festival lanterns
Today, lanterns can be merely decorative or more significantly used during the yearly Lantern Festival. A variety of crafts were used in their creation, such as Chinese painting, paper-cutting, and pricking and seaming. Many kinds of materials such as bamboo, wood, wheat-straw and metal were used to make a lantern. Paper and silk were the major materials.
Paper lantern is a lantern made of thin, brightly colored paper. Paper lanterns come in various shapes and sizes, as well as various methods of making. In their simplest form, they are simply a paper bag with a candle placed inside. The most welcomed paper lantern among children is the rabbit lantern, since rabbit is considered one of the most adorable mascots. Kids often parade their rabbit lanterns of different shapes and colors during Yuanxiao Festival. Because the Jade Rabbit in an ancient fairy tale that lives on the moon has always been seen as an auspicious symbol, it has become a tradition for kids to run around with their brightly lit rabbit lanterns to bring good luck everywhere.
Palace lantern was mainly used in palaces in ancient times. It is famous for the delicate craftsmanship, graceful and dignified pictures as well as the courtly features. Fine wood is used to make the frames that are covered in silk or glass. Different kinds of patterns are drawn on the covers. With dragon and phoenix patterns appearing on them, their shapes are diverse, such as octagonal and hexagonal.
Red gauze is usually used to cover the lantern. In Chinese culture, the red lantern is the symbol of a booming life and prosperous business, so they are always hung on important festivals like Lantern Festival.
About 1,000 years ago, this kind of lantern appeared in China, which was usually used for entertainment. The shape is much like that of the palace lanterns and there are two layers of covers. Paper-cuts are pasted or pictures are drawn on the inner layer. When lit, the heat causes a paper wheel inside the lantern to rotate so that moving pictures appear on the outer cover.
iDEALShanghai invites you to make your own lantern for the upcoming Lantern Festival. You'll have a chance to win a Shanghai Daily card purse.