DIY paper lanterns to decorate your home

 DIY paper lanterns to decorate your home

Today is the Chinese Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the Chinese New Year season. In the following report, we'll bring you to Dongzhi County in central China's Anhui Province and learn something about the history and traditions behind Chinese paper lanterns.

As well as fireworks and tiger-head hats and shoes, what children cherish most of the Spring Festival are probably the traditional Chinese paper lanterns to decorate their homes or stroll along the streets with.

Dongzhi County in southern Anhui Province is famed both home and abroad for its traditional Chinese paper lantern craftsmanship. The lantern making craftsmanship there has been listed as an intangible cultural heritage that is under state protection. Using bamboo, wood, metal and other materials, local folk artists have been producing lanterns since ancient times. Lantern exhibition and Flower Lantern Dance have become a big part of local people's life.

This is a Flower Lantern Dance performed by young people in the County. Flower lantern dance is very popular throughout China. It's a combination of folk song and dance with strong local flavors from different parts of the country.

The history of Lantern Flower Dance and lantern making in Dongzhi County dates back 1,000 years to the late Tang Dynasty.

The Lantern Festival usually falls in February or March on the Gregorian calendar. As early as the Western Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago, it had become a festival with great significance.

Li Yuhou , a master of lantern making, explains the history of the festival.

"Throughout Han Dynasty, 2,000 years ago, Buddhism flourished in China. One emperor heard that Buddhist monks would watch Buddha's crystal, and light lanterns to worship Buddha on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month, so he ordered to light lanterns in the imperial palace and temples to show respect to Buddha on this day. The Buddhist rite later developed into a grand festival and its influence expanded from the whole country."

Lantern fairs and performances are also held at other times throughout the year on different occasions to worship gods and ancestors, drive away evil spirits and wish for a peaceful life and a bumper harvest.

The lantern festival is celebrated across the country. Lanterns of various shapes and sizes are hung in the streets, attracting countless visitors. After the Lantern Festival, all the lanterns in Dongzhi County are set on fire and destroyed at the village entrance, meaning to send them to heaven. And new ones will be made for next New Year's celebration.

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