The Lantern Festival is a Chinese festival celebrated on the 15th day of the first lunar month, during the first night of a full moon. lt dates back to the Qin Dynasty People celebrate it also as the continuation of the Spring Festival. The lanterns are almost always red to symbolize good fortune. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples, carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles written on the lanterns. People will also make edible lanterns, which are made with sticky rice flour, symbolizing reunion. The main customs include watching lanterns and fireworks, going to the temple fai, guessing lantern riddles.
Yuanxiao (Lantern Festival) dumplings—or tangyuan as they are also known—are a traditional treat during the New Year season, specifically Lantern Festival, the last day of the traditional Lunar New Year celebrations. During the Lantern Festival, paper lanterns fill the night sky with beautiful light, symbolizing the letting go of past selves and looking to the future. The Lantern Festival has also since commercialized into a sort of Chinese Valentine’s Day following in line with the historic tradition of matchmaking in the streets during the festivities.
Yuanxiao are sweet glutinous rice balls that are typically filled with a sweet red bean paste, sesame paste, or even peanut butter. The Chinese believe that the round shape of the yuanxiao dumplings and the special bowls in which they are commonly served symbolize family togetherness. By eating the rice balls, they will bring their family happiness and good luck in the new year. For this very belief, these dumplings are also served at Chinese weddings and any other occasion of family reunion.