Updated: Feb 21, 2021
TeaWon wishes you a happy lantern festival and we will include a free pack of rice crackers for you if you place the order before 28th of February 2021.
This year, the Lantern Festival falls on 26th of February, which is the 15th of January of the Lunar calendar. In Taiwan, we will eat sweet glutinous rice balls (called Yuanxiao or Tangyuan in Mandarin) which are made with glutinous rice flour and wrapped around the sweet paste, such as black sesame, red bean, taro and peanuts. If you are interested in trying glutinous rice balls, you can get them at Asian Supermarket, or check the recipe here. https://www.curiouscuisiniere.com/peanut-tang-yuan/
We also decorate the house with lanterns and play lantern riddles in the evening. There are several historic stories about the customs of eating sweet glutinous rice balls and placing lanterns. You can read more legends in wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lantern_Festival. This is one of the reasons is that the 15th of January is the first full moon of the year. In old times, most people were working on the farm, so they rested until the 15th of January and celebrated with their families. That’s why we call the Lantern Festival a Little New Year.
When we were little, we had to use bamboo strips and glass paper to make our own lanterns. The school will choose the best one to join the National Lantern Competition. Each year, Taiwan Lantern Festival will be organized in the city to be chosen one year ahead and last for a week. It’s a shame that the festival has been canceled this year due to the COVID. https://theme.taiwan.net.tw/2021TaiwanLantern/
However, you still can see some lanterns in the temple and in the streets. Each year, LongShan Temple (built in 1738) in Taipei will set up two main lanterns, which allows people to walk underneath the lanterns. People believe walking through the lantern gives good luck and it’s customary to pray when you stand under the lanterns. 2021 is the year of the ox and you can see one of the lanterns is an Ox.