2018 Chinese Lantern Festival is on 3/02/2018. The Lantern Festival is 15th lunar day of Chinese New Year festival. Chinese call this day Yuan Xiao Jie. The background and history of Yuan Xiao is at the Chinese Lantern Festival Part I page. The followings are Yuan Xiao Jie's legendary stories and events about Chinese Lantern Festival.
The Multiple Firecracker Launcher
Another special event for young people in Taiwan is the Mass Rocket-Firecracker Artillery. People standing in the open square area, surrounding with many rocket-firecracker launchers and waiting for rocket-firecracker to shoot on them. Therefore people will wear helmet, goggles, face mask, rain coat, gloves, long pants and boots to protect their body. They said to hit by the rocket-firecracker will bring good luck to them.
There is a story for this custom. Once there is a plague among the village, no medicine can stop the disease. Finally, people brought out the idol statue of the god on the sedan chair from the temple and paraded to every street in the village. They exploded the firecrackers and continuously burned the incense as long the statue of the god pass for three days. On the 15th day of the first lunar month, the plague disappeared. People gave the credit to the god. People have their next generations to continue this religious custom by exploding the firecrackers. Once they made a firecrackers for 13 kilometer long, which was more than 200,000 firecrackers. Certainly, it took hours to finish the explosion.
The Legendary Story
There was a beautiful bird flew down to the earth from the heaven. It was hunted by the village people. The Jade Emperor in Heaven was very anger, because the bird was his favorite one. He ordered to destroy the village and kill all people with a storm of fire on the 15th lunar day. The daughter of Jade Emperor heard of this act of vengeance, and warned the villagers to prepare for that. Everybody worried about it and no one had any idea to face the fact.
Luckily, a wise man past the village and made the suggestion that every house should hang red lanterns around the house, setup campfire on the street, explode the bamboo firecracker, made fireworks on 14th, 15th and 16th lunar days. In this way, Jade Emperor might think all village people die under fire and all the villagers can save their lives and properties.
On the night of 15th lunar day, the troop coming down from the heaven looked the village was ablaze and returned back to heaven to report the Jade Emperor. Satisfied with the result, the Jade Emperor decided not to burn down the village. From that day on, people celebrated the anniversary on 15th lunar day every year by carrying red lanterns on the streets and explode the firecracker and fireworks.
Another Legendary Story
In Han Dynasty, Mr. Eastern is a favorite advisor of the emperor. One winter day, he went to the garden and heard a little girl crying and ready to jumping into well to suicide. Mr. Eastern stopped her and asked for why. She was a maid in the emperor's palace and her name was Yuan-Xiao. She never have chance to meet her family after she worked at palace. She missed them so much every 12th lunar month. If she couldn't have the chance to show her filial piety in this life, she would like to die. Mr. Eastern promised her to find a way for her family reunion.
Mr. Eastern left the palace and put a table on the street and disguised as a fortuneteller. since his reputation, many people asked for the fortune. But every one had the same prediction - severely fire accident on 15th lunar day. The rumor spread quickly. Everyone worried about the future and asked Mr. Eastern for help.
Mr. Eastern said, "On the 13th lunar day, the God of Fire will send a fairy lady in red to burn down the city. If you see a lady in red with green pant on the black horse on that day, You should ask for her mercy." Yuan-Xiao acted the red fairy lady on that day. When people asked for her help, she said, "Yes. I'm the messenger of the God of Fire and come to check on the city and going to set up fire on 15th. This is an order from Jade Emperor. He will watch from the heaven. I give you a copy of imperial decree from the God of Fire. You should go to ask your emperor to find a way out." After she left, people went to palace to show emperor the decree which is written - capital city is in trouble, fire burns on the palace, heaven fire burns all night long on the 15th.
The emperor of Han Dynasty was greatly shocked. He called and asked Mr. Eastern for the advise. After pondering for a while, Mr. Eastern said, "I heard the God of Fire likes to taste Tang-Yuan. Does Yuan-Xiao often cook Tang-Yuan for you? On the 15th lunar day, let Yuan-Xiao make Tang-Yuan. Your Majesty takes charge of the worship ceremony and gives order to every house to prepare Tan-Yuan to worship the God of Fire in the same time. Also, deliver another order to ask every house in the city to hang red lantern and explode fire crackers. Plus, inform that everyone in the palace and people outside the city to carry their lanterns on the street to watch the lantern decoration and fireworks. In this way, Jade Emperor wouldn't be deceived at heaven. Then everyone can be out of fire accident trouble." The emperor happily followed the plan.
Lanterns were everywhere in the capital city at the night of 15th lunar day. People were all moving on the street. Fire crackers kept making noisy. It looked like entire city on fire. Yuan-Xiao's parents went into the palace to watch the lantern decoration. Yuan-Xiao made a big lantern and wrote down her name outside the lantern. they happily reunited together after her parents called her name. Everybody was safe during the night. The emperor of Han Dynasty had a new order that people should do the same thing every year. Because Yuan-Xiao cooked the best Tan-Yuan, people called the day as Yuan-Xiao festival.
The Disappearing Custom
On the second day of the year is called Son-In-Law Day for the newly married couples. The husband needs to escort his wife to return her home. The husband becomes the major guest in his mother-in-law house. The married couples will bring New Year's gifts to the woman's parents. The parents give them two lotus lanterns, one white and the other red, to hang when they return home.
On the night of the Lantern Festival the young couples hang them beside their bed, and they light candles in the two lanterns. After that they wait and see which candle burns out first. If the candle in the white one burns out first, it means they will have a baby boy. If the candle in the red one burns out first, it means they will have a girl.