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15th Day of First Lunar Month in Chinese Calendar
The festival of lanterns

13 February 2006
 

Lantern Festival is on the fifteenth day of first lunar month, which marks the end of the series of Chinese New Year celebrations.

Traditionally, on the Lantern Festival night, children went out carrying bright lanterns that were often made in the shapes of legendary gods and animals, such as Monkey King and rabbit, while adults would parade the lanterns under the very first full moon of the year.

The Lantern Festival is also known, along with the seventh day in the seventh lunar month, as China’s Valentine’s Day. In the ancient times, it was one of the few nights when young ladies were allowed going out, and lovers would be able to meet each other on the street when watching lantern shows.

On the night of 12 February this year, fireworks lit up the skies and blazing lanterns dotted the Chinese cities as the 2006 Lantern Festival began. The "Ping-pung" sound was the main rhythm of the celebration as Chinese grasped their last chance to set off firecracker.

An ancient city gate on the festival night in a northern Chinese city, Wei County

The day before that, residents of Wei County in northern China's Hebei Province kicked off the celebration with their 300 year-old tradition – dashuhua (beat flowers out of a tree).

A man in Wei County performing traditional dashuhua

The performer carried a wet felt hat and wore a sheepskin jacket inside-out. With a wooden ladle that had been soaked in water for three days, he repeatedly scooped up from a bucket the boiling liquid of melted iron, and threw it with force against the ancient city wall, producing sparks which were like millions of colourful flowers burst out of an invisible tree.

(Source of photos: forum.xinhuanet.com)

 
 
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