Lantern Festival History Magical Winter Lights

Where It All Began


The Chinese Lantern Festival began about 2,000 years ago, during the Han Dynasty. Although no one knows the origin, it’s believed the festival was meant to celebrate the “declining darkness of winter,” the ability to move through the dark with human-generated light.


Celebrated during the first month, on the 15th day of the lunar calendar, the festival begins around February or March. Although lantern festival customs vary regionally, most festivals celebrate with lanterns, guessing lantern riddles, eating tangyuan (ball-shaped dumplings) and lion dances. Today, lantern festivals have gone global and are celebrated annually around the world.


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