AUCKLAND LANTERN FESTIVAL

The Chinese have been holding lantern festivals from as far back as the Han dynasty (206 BC and 25 AD), when Buddhist monks would light lanterns on the 15th day of the lunar year in honour of the Buddha. The quaint celebration was later adopted by the general population and spread throughout China and other parts of Asia. During the festival, houses are festooned with colourful lanterns, often with riddles written on them for children. If the riddle is answered correctly, the child earns a small gift. Festival celebrations also include lion and dragon dances, parades, and fireworks. Small glutinous rice balls filled with fruits and nuts are eaten during the festival. The round shape of the balls symbolizes wholeness and unity within the family. While I lived in Hong Kong, I was captivated by the numerous lantern celebrations held quite regularly and the various rituals that accompanied them.  read more