Friday, February 25, 2011

Lantern Festival

The first year, we marveled & gawked from the safety of our own furniture-less home. (This video is worth a re-watch if you missed it the first time around.)

The second year, we were too cool for school and stayed at home by choice rather than by naivety. The fact that is was still really, really cold also helped make that decision.

But the third year, we made our kidneys big (that's the Chinese way of saying "to gather your courage") and headed out to partake in the Lantern Festival activities.

Now I fear I have misinformed you, faithful blog readers. That just goes to show that I am far from a Chinese culture expert! Before, I told you that Yuan Shao Jie translates to Lantern Festival. In fact, it literally translates to Glutinous Rice Dessert Festival. I think Lantern Festival has a nicer ring to it, don't you? So we'll stick with that.

Last Thursday marked the 15h day of the Lunar New Year and also marked the last day of the Spring Festival holiday, which (hopefully) means the last day of the 24/7 fireworks extravaganza. We headed to a nearby downtown street to see the lanterns merry & glowing.

I would also have to say that the ratio of lanterns to people was about 1:100. And there were a lot of lanterns. If you don't get my point, here's a helpful (yet poorly photographed) visual aid to better illustrate. Some of us have always been visual learners after all...

There were street vendors, bands, and people. Lanterns, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade floats, and people. Bikes, motorcycles, and...did I mention people?

It really is days like this that I love living in China. The constant rumbles & claps of the fireworks charged the air with energy & excitement. The lanterns lining the streets were gorgeous, casting their warm, red glow on the festive crowd below. I also love the fact that among that festive crowd was quite a few unassuming faces to whom I surreptitiously subjected my Rebel:

We didn't really stay long enough for anything funny or interesting to happen because my fingers got cold inside my mittens. So after I had ample opportunity to experiment with my Christmas lens (oh f/stop 1.4, how I love you!) in this tricky yet ideal low-light setting, we were happy to bike back home and rescue our cowering puppy.

So from all of us China folk (and I again will emphasize all) to you...

Happy Glutinous Rice Dessert Festival/Lantern Festival/Yuan Shao Jie!

I hope we all have a QUIET & happy Year of the Rabbit!


Susan/Mama said...

Thank you for sharing the photos. They were wonderful as always. Your dad commented on how he likes your face pictures. Yes, I prefer "Lantern festival" please.

Anonymous said...

Love the soft glow on the kid with the ballon. Wish it was a bit sharper, but that's hard to do in low light. But you nailed that with the man in the yellow/red shirt. I like that. --James