The parade during the Chinese Lantern Festival has often been depicted in movies showcasing Chinese culture. This vibrant and colorful parade marks a very important holiday tradition--the Chinese New Year.
The Chinese Lantern Festival has been celebrated for over 2,000 years, beginning during the Han Dynasty.
Many legends are told about the tradition's origins, some springing from Taoist beliefs, others from historic events.
Time of Year
The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the last day of the Chinese New Year celebration, which runs for two weeks prior to the festival. It is on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese New Year and generally occurs in February or early March on the American calendar. This day is also called the Chinese Valentine's Day.
Traditionally, Chinese adults and children alike gathered together and carried their own personally decorated, paper lanterns down the street.
In more contemporary parades, large, elaborate electric lanterns have replaced the original candlelit lanterns. However, traces of many of the old traditions still remain.