You can't see it clearly in the video, but it seems that all the local villages enter a float (carried by people) which features a pretty girl dressed up in bright silks like a heavenly fairy maiden. There's a picture of one such maiden at the bottom of this post. As you can see, the exuberant noise and the colors were great.
There were lion dancers, dragons, drummers, cymbals, horns, dancers waving fans and scarves, people on stilts and on and on for a good two hours. I think some of the marching groups were the older ladies that we also see dancing on street corners at night. They march and dance like they haven't a care in the world.
Like most, if not all, Chinese festivals, there's a special food associated with Lantern Festival -- the glutinous (stuffed) rice ball, or tangyuan. Tried it, loved it. I'll post some pictures of it.
The Lantern Festival was a month ago. Sorry, I'm very behind-hand in my blog posts. It marks the end of the New Year celebrations.
I'm going to intersperse some of my posts about how much I love it here, with posts about the difficulties of internet access, the pollution, the [economic] pressures on me to teach children's classes rather than adult classes -- but just know that if you are reading a post from me that is critical of some aspect of China, that's mostly me playing junior reporter. In my daily life I am very content.
Who wouldn't be, when one is privileged to watch the local Lantern Festival parade after eating yet another epic lunch at a great restaurant? It was another great hot pot, or hua gua, meal, where we cooked our meat and vegetables in broth right at the table, then dipped it in sauce.
Our friends rented a private room and we watched the parade in comfort from the second story windows.
I did get some street-level snaps of the vendors selling food, these noisy clacker things, below, and the pretty red candied jujubes (a fruit, not a candy) on sticks. The sticks are in fact sturdy two foot long wooden skewers with a pointy end.
I think the Western world, with its health and safety concerns, could not accommodate boiling pots of broth on sterno lamps at a family restaurant, nor could we countenance giving children large wooden skewers that you could take somebody's eyes out with. But that's China. Maybe they still have lawn darts here.
In addition to the parade, we visited an evening display of lanterns and illuminations. My phone camera doesn't do it justice. But the magic of colored lights at night, just as with the Harbin Ice Festival, makes one feel like a child again.
Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month, so it's not strictly speaking associated with the winter solstice, the way that Christmas is. But it's not surprising that different cultures light up the long nights of winter with beautiful colors.
Update: Below, I've added a pic of the "boats" that bobbed along the street and the post-parade army of cleaners.
About the author:
I'm a writer and a teacher of English as a Second Language. Other passions and pursuits include choral singing, and following current events. "Laowai" means foreigner.
TINYFCC: This is not your father's Communist China
YDCTHTCAETTBELH: You don't come all the way to China and expect things to be exactly like home.
Ground rules: No snarking and sniping behind people's backs. Golden Rule applies. Except for:
Pleasant Goat: unsettling, creepy, Chinese cartoon character.