The Spring Lantern Festival is held on the fifteenth and final day of traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. Under the first full moon of the lunar year, lantern decorations of all shapes and sizes are lit throughout the city. Dating back over 2000 years ago, the origins of the festival vary in story and legend, but today remains a popular event that to many symbolizes the coming of spring.
In Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Chinese communities in South East Asia, the Lantern Festival is also informally identified as the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day. In the old days, young people were chaperoned in the evening with matchmakers hoping to make successful pairings; the brightest and prettiest lanterns were symbolic of good luck and hope. These days, men and women come out and mingle on this day in hope of blossoming love… the pretty lanterns make for a romantic setting for sure!
Lantern displays are set up in various locations in Hong Kong for the next two weeks or so, and entry is free of charge. The pictures here are from celebrations at a local park near my home in Tung Chung.