Lanterns Holiday in China
The bright and pompous Day of Lanterns is celebrated in China on the 15th day of the first month according to the Moon Calender. Actually it is celebrated at night. It is usually preceded by two weeks of careful preparations. For example the 13th day of the Moon cycle is called “The Day of Hanging Out The Lanterns”It’s not difficult to guess that in that day the new red lanterns are hanged in the shop windows for the customers to choose the one they like the most. The next day is called “The Day of Checking the Lanterns”. On this day the towns are being decorated with the red lanterns and everyone gets ready for the celebration.
The 15th day of the festival is called “The Main Day of Lanterns”. As soon as the twilight falls upon the town all the streets get illuminated with the glow of thousands red lanterns. The craftsmen who make the lanterns for the festival try to surprise the citizens each year.
This holiday has a very ancient history. In the second century B. C. when Buddhism began to conquer China the Emperor found out that the monks had the tradition to meditate next to the statues of Buddha each 15th day of the first month according to the Moon Calender. During that solemn ceremony the Buddhist monks lighted the lanterns as a sign of respect towards the memory of Buddha. The that-day Emperor got interested in that religious ritual and ordered to light the lanterns in his palace and decorate the main streets to show his participation in the ceremony. This custom was liked by plain people and became the wide-spread one in China.
There are a lot of different games and superstitious beliefs connected with this festival. However the most part of them is considered to be just an entertainment today.