Shaka: Experiencing China’s Lantern Festival

We all have dreams and we all makes wishes. I have never believed that a dream of mine would come true more than on the night of the Lantern Festival.

For those who may not know, the Lantern Festival is a Chinese Tradition celebrated in the parks around China on the 15th day of the New Year. It marks the end of the New Year celebration in China.

During this celebration wishes are made with each lantern that are lit and set off into the sky. The result is a sky was filled with beautiful lanterns floating away as if it was a scene out of the Walt Disney movie Tangled. Crowds of people all stood together watching the lanterns float skyward. To see so much hope in the faces of everyone around me was so refreshing.

Alongside the lanterns are a number of other festivities, namely food! Traditionally, local stands are supposed to sell dumplings filled with delicious meats as a symbol of the full moon that is out on this wonderful night. At our particular location, there were numerous concession stands with many different kinds of tasty foods displayed, and we made sure to try as many as we could. My classmates and I were so happy to be surrounded by all of the different exhibits of the Chinese culture.

Besides the marvelous celebration, we were glad that we could add to the experience in a way that we hadn’t thought of. As the Chinese primarily study and experience Western culture through films, music, and learning English, they were excited to see a group of 11 diverse students in the flesh. It was as if we were celebrities! With every step that we took, a group of teens would approach us to take pictures with us. I had never experienced anything of this nature. My classmates and I literally caused everyone nearby to stop everything they were doing to admire our differences. I am glad I was able to experience the Lantern Festival and give the people of Chengdu an experience as well.

Until next time!
- Shaka

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