The Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar.
The main activity of yuanxiao is watching lanterns.
During the period of Emperor Mingdi of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Emperor Mingdi advocated Buddhism. He heard that on the 15th day of the first lunar month, Buddhist monks would view the relics of Buddha and light lanterns in worship of Buddha. He ordered that on this day, lanterns should be lit in the palaces and temples to worship Buddha, so that all the common people of the literate families would hang lanterns.
After this Buddhist ritual festival gradually formed a grand folk festival.
This section has experienced from the court to the folk, from the Central Plains to the development of the whole country.
Until today, the custom of Lantern Festival is still spread throughout China. Lanterns of all kinds and beauty are lit on this day. Children carry self-made lanterns to walk around the streets, very happy.
Guessing lantern riddles is also an important part of the Festival. Lantern owners write riddles on the lanterns and post them on the door. If someone can solve the riddles correctly, they will get a small gift.
The activity originated in the Song Dynasty (979 ~ 979 AD) and became popular among all social strata as riddles were both enlightening and interesting.
people will eat yuanxiao, or rice dumplings, on this day, so it is also called the "yuanxiao festival."yuanxiao also has another name, tangyuan. it is small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour with rose petals, sesame, bean paste, jujube paste, walnut meat, dried fruit, sugar and edible oil as filling. tangyuan can be boiled, fried or steamed. it tastes sweet and delicious. what’s more, tangyuan in Chinese has a similar pronunciation with "tuanyuan”, meaning reunion. so people eat them to denote union, harmony and happiness for the family.