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Lantern Festival

Updated : 2015-05-21

Lantern Festival

This traditional activity calls for hanging up lanterns to enjoy them. It has a different sense, however, in Dongshi, a coastal town near Jinjiang, because of the cross-straits relations. Fujian province and Taiwan both have "Dongshis" and the people in the two places have the same lantern customs, which are quite unique. The festival begins on Jan 13 on the lunar calendar and lasts 3 days.

Lantern Festival

It starts with a ceremony in Sangong Palace (Jiaxing Temple) in the mainland's Dongshi and Dongshi county on Taiwan, where they send representatives on Jan 13 to worship their ancestors ("Sangong"), and return to Taiwan with the palace lanterns。

Men married in the previous year have to hang a lantern to the hall. And there must be a bright red silk ball lantern from the government in the middle of "Sangong Palace". At midnight, the host announces the number of palace lanterns from Taiwan and from the local place to celebrate the population of the two places, and the bridegrooms start the most important part of the activity, "Lantern Divining", where the bridegrooms have to throw "Xinbei" in the order of the laterns hanging in front of "Sangong".


Lantern Festival
[Photo by Zhuang Lixiang]

The bridegroom who throws the most will be the winner for the bright red silk ball lantern which predicts a new boy in the coming year. And the winner's relatives come over and set off the firecrackers and blow "Dahongjia" to welcome him back home. The lantern is hung in the hall. Then, the marriage lanterns are brought back and hung in the bridal chamber in hopes of a happy marriage and a baby. Representatives from Taiwan also take part in the "Lantern Divining" and, if they win the silk ball lantern, it must be shipped to Taiwan on Jan 16. The people of Dongshi of Fujian need to carry the centipede pavilion to see the winner off. This is "Palace Lantern Counting".




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