Updated: Dec 15, 2019
The Lantern Festival is a time to come together and reflect on both the good times and the struggles you have endured. It is a time to wish for a bright future, good fortune and joy, prosperity and good health.
The festival traditionally takes place on the fifteenth day of the first month of the lunisolar Chinese calendar.
There are many different beliefs about the true origin of the Lantern Festival – one describes a celebration of the ‘declining darkness of winter.’ It enables people to ‘move about the night with human-made light’ (lanterns).
One legend describes the festival as a time to worship Taiyi (the god of heaven). Taiyi had the ability to control destiny. China’s emperors would host festivals for Taiyi, asking him to bring good weather and health.
People light up lanterns and release them into the sky, letting go of their problems and worries. Each lantern’s colour and shape has specific meaning.
- A red lantern represents a wish for good fortune and joy. This can include booming life and prosperous business.
- A green lantern represents growth, health and balance in nature.
- A round lantern represents wholeness and togetherness in China,
reminiscent of the full moon.
Some lanterns have decorative writing and pictures on them too, which have their own meanings.
- Decorative writing can represent wishes for a long, healthy life and a
prosperous, wealthy future. Occasionally, there can be riddles on lanterns
- Images of dragons mean strength and wisdom.
- Images of bamboo mean resilience.
- Butterflies and flowers mean happiness.
- Trees and plants mean growth.
All of these elements (colour, shape, writings, pictures) combine to create unique and deeply personal lanterns.