The Shangyuan Festival, or Lantern Festival is an event celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar. Corresponding with the first full moon of the New Year, it marks the end of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. During the festival, paper lanterns are hung and illuminated after dark, creating a beautiful nighttime scene. Among the many traditions associated with the Lantern Festival is the practice of writing riddles on paper strips and pasting them to lanterns. These riddles puzzle and delight festival participants.
Originally, Buddhist monks used lanterns in their worship of the Buddha. During the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), the Emperor Liu Zhuang ordered the citizens to light lanterns to worship the Buddha. This custom eventually became a big festival among all people.
1. Select a lucky fish decoration and write your favorite riddle on the back (the side with no glitter). See examples for riddle ideas.
2. Tie the fish to the metal frame of a lantern. This will be the top.
3. Tie on a piece of red tulle to hang from the bottom.
4. Paint the lantern with designs in warm colors (red, yellow, and orange).
5. If you choose, you may write your name on the fish and leave it on the rack to dry.