The Lantern Festival or the Spring Lantern Festival is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar. It marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations, and falls on some day in February or March in the Gregorian calendar.
For millennia, Chinese New Year celebrations, also known as Spring Festival, have traditionally concluded with the Lantern Festival.
The origins of the Lantern Festival can only be traced back to myths and elements of legends, with local customs added over time. However, the etymology of the festival’s Chinese name Yuánxiāojié can be explained.
The Chinese lunar calendar has a different name for each month. The first month is called Yuányuè (yuán means beginning, first) and Xiāo means ‘evening’ or ‘night’ referring to the fact that the Lantern Festival is at its peak in the evening when the red lanterns are lit in the midst of darkness.
It is often said that the Lantern Festival celebrates the birthday of the Daoist god of fortune, Tianguan. Just as often, it is said to be a Buddhist celebration, dating back to when the Eastern Han dynasty Emperor Mingdi (28-75) rejoiced over the arrival of sacred Buddhist texts from India. The lighting of the lanterns is said to sym.
Another story tells that on the 15th day of the first lunar month, spirits move around under the light of the full moon and by lighting lanterns, people help illuminate the spirits’ way. Earliest sources say that the Lantern Festival has been celebrated, for one reason or another, since the Han Dynasty, 2,000 years ago.bolize how the light of wisdom spreads to the world.
But in modern times, it is seen that many Indians are lighting up sky lanterns in their festivals (especially on Diwali) also as the medium of their enjoyment as it reduces pollution and also is cool enough to add newness in our enjoyment.
Diwali, or Dipawali, is India‘s biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row(avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.
As the countdown to Diwali begins, people are thronging the markets to buy all kinds of decorative items such as diyas, Chinese lights and rangoli stickers. One item is selling particularly well this year — the cheap and eco-friendly sky lanterns.
Many people prefer buying sky lanterns (a paper contraption propelled into the air by fire) to bursting firecrackers. With awareness about the need to observe Diwali in an eco-friendly manner increasing, sky lanterns are the new in-thing in markets across the town. The demand has come as good news for artisans, who are all busy making these paper lamps by the thousands.
“Sky lanterns look beautiful. Not only do they reduce pollution, they are extremely affordable,” said an artist and a shop-owner in Choudhury Bazar. “We buy sky lamps with prices ranging from Rs 20 to Rs 1,000. I have stocked up on lanterns worth Rs 80,000 and half of them have been sold,” he added.
We want to celebrate Diwali in a unique way. The innovative designs of the sky lamps are very interesting. While crackers last only for a few seconds, the lanterns last for a long time,” said a customer.
“I have many orders for paper sky lamps as they look fabulous and are eco-friendly,” said Sujat Das, an artist of the Buxi Bazar area. “We make the lamps with paper, bamboo, a thin iron wire, cotton, and oil. The smoke from the fire helps the lamps move through the air. The paper used in the lamps is thin and helps them become air-borne quickly,” he added.
Content by Madhumita Halder