The Lantern Festival, also known as Spring Lantern Festival, is a celebration on the fifteenth day of the Lunar New Year. The festival holds a great significance as the day marks the final day of Chinese New Year celebrations.
Began over 2000 years ago, there are many different beliefs to the origin of the festival. It celebrates family love and reunion. Some even consider this as the original Chinese Valentine’s Day.
During the festival, many activities include moon gazing, lighting lanterns outside the home, guessing riddles and playing games, and lion dances. The quintessential part of the celebration is the food. The preparation of lip-smacking food starts days before the festival.
A sweet ritual
Food is the center of attention of this festival. It is prerequisite to eating dumplings (glutinous rice ball) on Lantern festival according to popular beliefs and customs. They are round and sticky, and therefore symbolize reunion and inseparability.
The sticky rice balls are made of syrup, red bean paste, black sesame paste or more. They can be steamed or fried, but usually boiled and served in hot water.
The rice balls are called Tāng Yuan in the South which sounds similar to ‘reunion.’ Northern Chinese call them Yuan Xiao which means gold or silver metals.
Here’s the list of top places to enjoy the best dumpling in the alleys of China:
3. Ning Bo Dumplings
4. Cheng Chang Yuan Zi (Shendacheng)
Among the variety of foods, the traditional Chinese snack of candied fruit grabs a lot of attention. Tanghulu. It’s a favorite sweet and sour treat in Northern China. Also, famously called shanzha, which is a Chinese fruit.
Earlier, Tanghulu was made by dipping the skewer in sugar syrup, and later the coat hardened. Nowadays more people prefer sprinkles of Cherry Tomatoes, Mandarin Oranges, Strawberries, Blueberries, Pineapples, Kiwifruit, Bananas, or Grapes on their candies.
Also, here are a couple of places for extraordinary fairs filled with riddle games and a variety of lanterns, serving the best Tanghulu.
1. Lihua Village of Renqiu
2. Nanhu Park in Tangshan
Altogether, the celebration is not only about the lighting of lanterns. It offers a variety of traditional food to enjoy.