lantern festival

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Chinese Traditions, Cultural, Discover Chinese culture, Events in Qingdao, Learn about China, Qingdao Blogs

Lantern Festival and CNY Big Market in Qingdao

Last week the famous Lantern Festival (元宵节) was celebrated all over China. Red lantern lines illuminating the night everywhere– what could be more characteristic of China?Let me talk a bit about one of the most widely known Chinese festival.

The Lantern Festival originated in the Eastern Han Dynasty and was first celebrated about 2000 years ago. It is celebrated on the first full moon night in the Chinese calendar, which is why the date changes every year, and traditionally marks the end of the Spring Festival. After the Lantern Festival people normally stop setting off fireworks. I put “normally” because I still heard fireworks for days afterwards. It’s been, however, relatively calm during the past few days so I assume everything is back to normal now. What is special about the Lantern Festival? Visitors can enjoy various beautiful lanterns, make lanterns fly into the dark night sky, try to solve lantern riddles, eat ball dumplings in soup, join lion or dragon dances and many other things.

Well, that’s exactly what we, the IC intern group, were looking for when we went to Qingdao’s Old Town on Thursday, March 5th. We didn’t really find all of these “interesting things” but we finally managed to find a traditional temple that opened its gates for the event where we took lots of beautiful pictures. You may find a selection of them below.

元宵节快乐, Happy Lantern Festival !

InternChina - Lanterns mmexport1425624482157-001 mmexport1425624472786-001

 

What about 青岛糖球会? This is the Chinese New Year Big Market in Qingdao. It lasts one week and is well-known not only by Chinese people but also by foreigners.  If you want to try strange delicacies and aren’t afraid of getting bitten by a crocodile, this is the best place to go to! Meat skewers, squid sticks, scorpions, coconut juice, and – best thing of all – 糖球 (candied hawthorns!). If you are lucky, you will manage to not lose your friends in the streets which are crowded by masses of people. Otherwise you’ll have to find your way through the crowd, passing flower headband sellers and men hitting rice pastry with a big wood hammer.

InternChina - QD Big Market
Don’t be surprised and enjoy. You are in China!

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Chengdu Blogs, Chinese Festivals, Cultural

Celebrating the Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival is celebrated in China on the 15th day of the New Lunar Year. It symbolises the passing of winter and the declining of darkness, and as the lanterns are released into the sky, also symbolises a new start. It’s a chance for families to get together again before life goes back to normal after the Spring Festival. The glutinous, black sesame filled rice balls, tangyuan 汤圆, are the traditional dessert for this period.

InternChina - Lanterns
InternChina – Lanterns

In Chengdu, the InternChina team and Co. celebrated this year’s Lantern Festival with our Language partner school. There was a variety of cultural activities we could take part in, which included tangyuan-making, calligraphy workshops, Chinese paper cutting, drinking tea and quizzes. Each of the activities was fun and engaging, but I do believe that most of us got stuck in the tangyuan room!

InternChina - Tangyuan making
InternChina – Tangyuan making

The sweet, squidgy dessert is made from glutinous rice flower with a bit of water. They can be either filled or unfilled, but traditionally they will have a black sesame paste filling. Nowadays you can find them stuffed with almost anything however – peanut butter is one of my favourites. Though a fairly simple concept, it’s not actually that easy to roll the balls and make sure none of the filling spills out and ‘stains’ the snow white dough. The mixture is also prone to drying out quickly, so there was some time pressure too. It took us a couple of tries to get them right!

InternChina - Tangyuan making
InternChina – Tangyuan making

Next stop was calligraphy. Here we had the opportunity to let out our inner artists and have a go with the Chinese calligraphy brush. Unlike the ones we’re used to from home, these brushes are usually thicker and softer and the correct way to hold them is also different (and quite tricky to begin with..).

InternChina - Calligraphy
InternChina – Calligraphy

In the evening, people gathered by the river to set off paper lanterns and enjoy the last few fireworks. There’s something very calming about watching the little red and yellow light rise into the sky

 

Curious? Come join us for an internship in Qingdao, Zhuhai or Chengdu, and get the chance to try the local specialities and experience true Chinese traditions! Apply Now!!