The Lantern Festival is coming up on Monday, the 15th day of the first lunar month. And the whole country is decked out for the celebration.
In Shanghai, the annual lantern show is ready on Yunan Street which has been famous for its old buildings and time-honored restaurants. Thousands of lanterns in various shapes are hung. And the restaurants are ready to impress visitors with Tang Yuan, the glutinous rice dumplings. The dumplings are the staple snack for the festival. Their round shape is considered a symbol of family reunion.
Tourists enjoy the sightseeing lanterns at the Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai, east China, Feb. 7, 2009. The 3-day lantern show celebrating the Chinese Lantern Festival openend on Saturday. The Chinese traditional Lantern Festival will fall on the 15th day of the first month on the Chinese lunar calendar, or Feb. 9 this year. [Xinhua]
In the 400-year-old Yuyuan Garden, the Spring Festival temple fair has been transformed into a lantern display. On the night of the first full moon of the new year, it's a tradition for people walk carrying lanterns, often shaped like the zodiac animal of the that lunar year.
In Gaocheng City in Hebei Province, requests for lanterns have poured in from around the country. The lanterns are custom-made for businesses. As the year of the Ox has come in China, lanterns with an Ox theme are the most sought-after.
Other popular designs are the traditional symbols for prosperity and luck.