The Lantern festival takes place at the very end of the Chinese New Year celebrations but it is not a national holiday in China.
The festival can be traced back two thousand years. It began as a Buddhist custom where the monks would light lanterns in the temple to show respect to Buddha. The emperor of the time, who was an advocate of Buddhism, ordered all the houses and temples to do the same.
The festival is celebrated nowadays with lantern displays and street entertainment, including stilt walkers and lion dances. Lanterns are hung from houses, shops and businesses, creating a beautiful sight after dark.
Another important part of the festival is the riddle. Lantern owners write riddles on papers hanging from the lanterns for people to work out. If someone thinks they know the answer they have to pull the riddle from the lantern and take it to the owner. There is usually a small prize for getting it right. This year the New Year celebrations began on 8th February, and so the Lantern Festival will be taking place on February 22nd.
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