Lantern Festival in Beijing, a joyous occasion

The much-anticipated Lantern Festival is joyously celebrated in the Chinese capital Beijing as it is in many parts of China. The occasion falls on the initial lunar month’s fifteenth day in the lunar calendar, which usually occurs in February or March. As you might expect, making colourful lanterns is one of the most important aspects of this event, which is considered to be the most festive and enjoyable of all the festivals celebrated by the Chinese people. On this full moon day, all members of the family reunite and spend the day in a spirit of joy and fellowship.

With a legacy of more than 2,000 years, this festival traditionally involves a number of activities and customs which are observed by all sections of society. Everyone, from young children to senior citizens involve themselves in the celebrations.

Constructing and lighting lanterns is undoubtedly one of the event’s most prominent aspects. This practice is believed to have originated during the time of rule of the Han Dynasty, when Buddhism was widespread amongst the people of the nation. One of the Han emperors commenced this custom by decreeing that lanterns should be lit to honour the Buddha. During subsequent dynasties, the custom became increasingly popular amongst the people of the country. A related activity is the practice of making up riddles and guessing the answers. Individuals write witty riddles on pieces of paper and visitors are invited to guess the answer.

Folk dances are a very important part of the traditional activities, in particular the colourful lion dance. The actual lion is manipulated by two individuals who perform numerous difficult actions to entertain onlookers. Stilt walking is another popular sight during the festival day.

Another common practice observed at this time is the making and eating of yuanxiao. These are dumplings made of rice, which are stuffed with a variety of fillings such as sesame, sugar, jujube paste, bean paste and rose petals. These round treats symbolize harmony, reunion and joy.

If you are visiting the nation and are considering greater China hotels, there is no better choice than the Millennium & Copthorne Hotels China. These fine hotels in China are renowned for their comfortable accommodations and gracious hospitality.


Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday.


Beijing Underground City – an intriguing labyrinth beneath Beijing

Built during the 1970s in anticipation of a nuclear conflict with the former Soviet Union, Beijing’s Underground City is a fascinating labyrinth of tunnels that boasts everything featured aboveground for the convenience of a six-million-strong populace forced to flee underground. Explore this and Beijing’s treasure trove of cultural attractions to enhance your stay at a luxury serviced apartment in Beijing such as those you will discover at the Somerset ZhongGuanCun Beijing. Centrally located and elegantly appointed interiors, these Beijing serviced apartments are some of the finest in the city. Also known as Dixia Cheng, the Underground City was built under the patronage of Chairman Mao Zedong during the escalating Sino-Soviet tensions in 1969. Although never used as the bomb shelter it was designed to be, it features restaurants, schools, factories, and even theatres and a roller skating rink to fully accommodate and comfort the entire population of Beijing during times of conflict. It boasts well-planned urban design, with a mushroom cultivation site, oil and grain warehouses, and more than 70 sites at which water could be extracted. It also boasts intricate ventilation systems as well as various hatches and shafts that could be closed to prevent the entry of chemical and radioactive fallout. An amazing facet of its construction was that the tunnels were dug mostly by hand, and more than 300,000 citizens, including school kids, played a part in it. Official entry is through a small shop located south of Tianeman Square. Visitors are able to see chambers with the labels of proposed functions, such as “cinema” and “arsenal”. The tour will also cover a silk-making factory that demonstrates the extraction and production process, and visitors will also be able to purchase a variety of silken products from the shop onsite. Tour access to the tunnels is free, whilst individuals will be charged 20 yuan. Whether alone or in a group, the Beijing Underground City provides a unique adventure not available elsewhere.

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and intends to visit them all someday.