Romantic Lantern Festival brightens people’s lives, start of splendid new year

The Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first lunar month marks the final stop of the Spring Festival and is also the first night when a full moon is visible during the lunar new year. 

Since ancient times, lantern viewing has long been a folk custom in celebrating the Lantern Festival. On the day of the festival, streets and alleys are decorated with lights, and families gather together to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere of the Spring Festival. A series of classic delicacies and celebrations also appear in turn, extending the joy and beautiful wishes for the future that the new year brings. 

In Linghu town, Huzhou city in East China's Zhejiang Province, a Lantern Folk Culture Festival is held around the Lantern Festival. The event features traditional handicraft lantern exhibitions, riddle guessing and firework setting activities, creating a rich festive atmosphere. 

The local area excels in making lanterns, which are often combined with riddle guessing. During the festival, shopkeepers hang riddles on their storefronts for people to guess and distribute prizes, which have become a unique local folk culture, according to the Xinhua News Agency. 

Zhengzhou in Central China's Henan Province will hold drone shows for three consecutive days to celebrate the Lantern Festival, presenting various themes to show the splendid culture of China and the Year of the Dragon.

In Beijing, before the Lantern Festival, traditional stores experienced long queues as people followed tradition to buy tangyuan, also called yuanxiao, which are glutinous rice balls stuffed with filling and representing families getting together.

Beijing's famous dim-sum chain Daoxiangcun introduced a dozen of flavors of this snack this year, including black sesame, osmanthus hawthorn, traditional mixed nuts, cream cocoa, and custard, satisfying the popular tastes favored by different people. Moreover, there were two types of tangyuan specially prepared for customers who prefer low-sugar flavors, according to the Beijing News. 

The main store of Huguosi Snacks launched durian-filled Lantern Festival tangyuan

"They basically sold out as soon as they were restocked, with many customers queuing specifically to wait for this durian flavor," said a supervisor of the company. This year, chocolate-flavored tangyuan were also reintroduced. According to one internet sales platform, sugar-free, durian , chocolate, fruit , black sesame, peanut , calcium milk, meat, and matcha varieties of tangyuan have become products of increased interest. Matcha tangyuan has seen the highest surge in attention, with a search volume increase of 253 percent year-on-year. 

After Spring Festival celebrations around the world, the Lantern Festival has also gained ground overseas. New Zealand held Lantern Festival activities on Thursday at the Manukau Sports Bowl in Auckland, with 44 stalls and over 500 lanterns making a splendid appearance. At this year's celebration, a handmade dragon lantern was particularly noteworthy - about 30 meters long (the length of two buses), it was displayed next to the main stage, according to the China News Service.

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