Yuan Xiao – Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival is a festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the lunar year which marks the last day of the Chinese New Year season.  This fell on the 14th of February this year.  Traditionally people go into the streets with a variety of lanterns under the full moon, watching lions or dragons dancing, and lighting up firecrackers.

The children’s school celebrated the lantern festival and here are a few snap shots from last week:

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A few of the children were a little frightened of the energetic dragon dance.  My son loved it!

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Tangyuan is the special food for the Lantern Festival which is a  sweet or savory dumpling made of sticky rice flour filled (or not) with stuffing of sugar/walnuts/vegetables, tangerine peel, meat…..(About.com).  The round shape symbolizes family unity, completeness and happiness.  The act of making the rice dumplings (these particular ones were filled with red bean paste) was much more fun than eating them!

Shanghighs‘: Ben our driver kindly offered us a batch of shaomai – yummy rice and pork dumplings.  He modestly said that they were much better than those we’d tasted in the streets…. and he was right!

Shanglows‘: Firecrackers at all hours!

Shangunusuals‘:  The book I’m reading is helping demystify the popularity of dishes such as Tangyuan: ‘Shark’s fin and sichuan pepper – A sweet-sour memoir of eating in China‘ (Fuchsia Dunl0p) mentions that ‘it takes several years of quite dedicated Chinese eating, in my experience, to begin to appreciate texture for itself……many of the grandest Chinese delicacies…are essentially about texture.’ and so perhaps one day I just might like some of the gelatinous, sticky, slimy, chewy Chinese delicacies.

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