Yuanxiao is the special food for the Lantern Festival. It is believed that Yuanxiao is named after a palace maid, Yuanxiao, of Emperor Wu Di of the Han Dynasty. Yuanxiao
is a kind of sweet dumpling, which is made with sticky rice flour
filled with sweet stuffing. And the Festival is named after the famous
dumpling. It is very easy to cook - simply dump them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes - and eaten as a dessert.
"Guessing lantern riddles"is an essential
part of the Festival. Lantern owners write riddles on a piece of paper
and post them on the lanterns. If visitors have solutions to the
riddles, they can pull the paper out and go to the lantern owners to
check their answer. If they are right, they will get a little gift. The
activity emerged during people's enjoyment of lanterns in the Song
Dynasty (960-1279). As riddle guessing is interesting and full of
wisdom, it has become popular among all social strata.
In the daytime of the Festival, performances
such as a dragon lantern dance, a lion dance, a land boat dance, a
yangge dance, walking on stilts and beating drums while dancing will be staged. On the night, except for magnificent
lanterns, fireworks form a beautiful scene. Most families spare some
fireworks from the Spring Festival and let them off in the Lantern
Festival. Some local governments will even organize a fireworks party.
On the night when the first full moon enters the New Year, people become
really intoxicated by the imposing fireworks and bright moon in the sky.