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The Lantern Festival Celebrated Across China

Each month over the coming year, we’re sharing about holidays celebrated in different countries where you help care for children in need. This month, we’re looking at the Chinese Lantern Festival!

On February 15th, children and families across China celebrated the Lantern Festival! Also called the Shangyuan Festival or the Yuanxiao Festival, the festivities take place on the full moon and mark the final day of traditional Chinese New Year celebrations.

During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night carrying paper lanterns and hang them in the streets, symbolizing letting go of their past selves to welcome in the new year. The lanterns are almost always red to symbolize good fortune. Often, the lanterns have riddles written on notes and those who get it right may get a small gift or prize!

Along with decorating with lanterns and solving riddles, people gather to eat traditional foods like rice balls filled with a sweet filling made of red bean, brown sugar, sesame or a combination of ingredients. People believe that the round shape symbolizes togetherness and eating “tangyuan” (or “yuanxiao” in the north), as the rice balls are called, brings the family harmony, happiness and luck in the new year! In addition to eating delicious foods, people fill the streets with fireworks and there is a lively atmosphere with traditional dragon and lion dances!

Our staff in China have been working hard to deliver Chinese New Year’s gifts to children in our programs during the month of February. Thank you for making celebrations like these possible for children in Holt’s programs!

Happy Chinese baby girl with caretaker

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