Monday, March 30, 2009

Lantern Festival

finally I post some pics of the lantern festival, which is Day 15 of the New year. Folklore says that the soft glowing lts of the lanterns help guide wandering ghosts home. Later, everyone watches for the 100 foot long paper and silk dragon to come out of hibernation.

Dragon means strength and goodness and in the new year dance, it chases after the sun ball, the source of power. Lanterns come in all shapes and sizes. Some like fantastic crabs with moving claws or birds with wings that flap. There are lanterns called pacing horses which spin when they are heated frm the flame of he candle or fan. Some lanters as large as houses.

In N. China, where winters are cold, lanterns are carved from blocks of river ice. Kids make lanterns at scool and hang riddles on them Example of a riddle: ..."when drawn it is round, but when written it is square. In cold weather is it short and in hot weather long. Answer :sun or day

It is the last night of the chinese new year and signals the end of the new years celebrations, hence end of the fireworks, at least for a couple days! We went to Yu Yuan gardens, a famous temple here to see the decorations and eat dumpling with some of our friends. here we are, in all our glory! The lanterns were very festive, but as usual, we were main attractions with people taking our pictures left and right. Some come and ask for a picture but many try to to it slyly then quickly turn away when you look at them.

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