元宵节 (Yuánxiāojié), The Lantern Festival, marks the end of the Spring Festival. Exactly fifteen days after the Chinese New Year’s Eve, this night always features the first full moon of the new year.
In ancient times, the emperor enforced a strict curfew, except on this night, when people of all ages would celebrate in the streets all night, releasing elaborate lanterns towards the night sky, symbolically letting go of their troubles. This was a night when anything could happen – including unsupervised romance!
A highlight is guessing lantern riddles – little slips of paper are attached to the lanterns, and whoever guesses correctly wins a prize. Each riddle usually relies on knowledge of written characters and their composition – similar to a rebus.
This is also the time for eating tāngyuán, little chewy soup balls made with rice flour and a sweet filling of sesame, bean paste, or similar – or chocolate, if you’re adventurous.
I’ve guessed it! I’ve guessed it! I think… Baidu Baike