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Chinese Lantern Festival 2012

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The Chinese Lantern Festival takes place on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. As they mark the end of the Spring Festival, celebrants create colorful lanterns, set off fireworks, and hold parades. In one village, residents hurl molten metal against a wall to create an impressive display of sparks in a 300-year-old tradition. Gathered below are some vibrant images from this year's Chinese Lantern Festival. [29 photos]

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A blacksmith throws molten metal against a cold wall to create sparks, as he and others celebrate the Lantern Festival which traditionally marks the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations, in Nuanquan, Hebei province, China, on February 6, 2012. For over 300 years, the village, which is famous for its blacksmith skills, has maintained the tradition which they consider a cheaper alternative to buying fireworks during the Lantern Festival. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)
A blacksmith throws molten metal against a cold wall to create sparks, as he and others celebrate the Lantern Festival which traditionally marks the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations, in Nuanquan, Hebei province, China, on February 6, 2012. For over 300 years, the village, which is famous for its blacksmith skills, has maintained the tradition which they consider a cheaper alternative to buying fireworks during the Lantern Festival. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors view ice sculptures at Yanqing Ice Festival also for the Chinese Lantern Festival on February 6, 2012 in Beijing, China. The Lantern Festival also known as the Yuanxiao Festival or Shangyuan Festival in China. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #
Tourists visit Confucius Temple to celebrate the Lantern Festival in Nanjing, in eastern China's Jiangsu province, on February 6, 2012. (AP Photo) #
Wearing protective helmets and hoping to be hit, thousands of devotees stand in the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival in Yanshui, southern Taiwan, on February 6, 2012. Marking the end of the Chinese Lantern Festival, the Yenshui Beehive Fireworks Festival originates from the late 19th century when villagers suffering from serious cholera epidemics used fireworks to ward off evil spirits they believed brought on the sickness. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) #
Villagers perform the annual "dragon march" to celebrate the Lantern Festival in Gutian township, Fujian province, China, on February 6, 2012. According to local media, the traditional march, usually performed during Lantern Festival, has a history of more than 200 years. The marching dragon, made of paper and bamboo and connected by wood planks, set the new Guinness World Records of the longest parade float at 791.5 m (2,597 ft), according to local media. (Reuters/Stringer) #
Lanterns on display for the Chinese Lantern Festival on February 6, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #
Models in traditional outfits stroll through Yuyuan Garden to celebrate the Lantern Festival at the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations, on February 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) #
Hundreds of Taiwanese release "sky lanterns" in hopes of good fortune and prosperity in the new year and to celebrate the upcoming traditional Chinese Lantern Festival on January 28, 2012, in the Pingxi district of New Taipei City, Taiwan. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) #
People launch sky lanterns to celebrate the Lantern Festival on February 6, 2012 in Liuzhou, Guangxi Province, China. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images) #
Hundreds of Taiwanese release sky lanterns on Saturday, January 28, 2012, in New Taipei City, Taiwan. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) #
A dragon dance is performed amid fireworks during a Lantern Festival celebration in Chongqing municipality, on February 6, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer) #
A woman reacts in an area decorated with lanterns ahead of the Lantern Festival at Yu Yuan Garden in downtown Shanghai, on February 5, 2012. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) #
Fireworks explode in the sky to celebrate the Lantern Festival on February 6, 2012 in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, China. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images) #
Chinese people visit a Dragon sculpture during the Lantern Festival on February 6, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #
People visit a lantern show at the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations, on February 6, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #
Tourists walk through an alley decorated with red lanterns for the Lantern Festival in Beijing, on February 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan) #
Worshippers throw firecrackers at a shirtless man acting as Master Handan during the Handan ritual as part of the Chinese Lantern Festival celebrations or "Yuan Hsiao Jie" in Taitung, eastern Taiwan, on February 6, 2012. According to some cultural historians, Master Handan is a god of wealth who is afraid of the cold and throwing firecrackers at him can drive the chill away from his body. During the procession, the more firecrackers onlookers set off, the more successful and wealthy they will become. (Reuters/Stringer) #
Villagers perform a dragon dance to pray for good luck and celebrate the upcoming Chinese Lantern Festival in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, on February 1, 2012. The traditional dragon is constructed of bamboo and paper for the festival. (Reuters/China Daily) #
Chinese folk artists perform a dragon dance as sparks fly from fireworks to celebrate the Lantern Festival, on February 6, 2012 in Taijiang County, Guizhou Province, China. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images) #
A man holds his daughter as they walk in an area decorated with lanterns in Yu Yuan Garden in downtown Shanghai, on February 5, 2012. (Reuters/Carlos Barria) #
A blacksmith flings a ladle full of molten metal against a wall to create sparks, as he and others celebrate the Lantern Festival in Nuanquan, Hebei province, China, on February 6, 2012. For over 300 years, the village has maintained the tradition which they consider a cheaper alternative to buying fireworks during the Lantern Festival. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #
Wearing some protective clothing, blacksmiths wait their turn to throw molten metal against a cold wall to create a display of sparks for the Lantern Festival in Nuanquan, China, on February 6, 2012. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #
Men carry a crucible filled with molten metal toward a blacksmith who is hurling it against a nearby stone wall, part of the Lantern Festival celebrations in Nuanquan, China, on February 6, 2012. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #
Blacksmiths prepare molten metal for throwing against a huge stone wall in Nuanquan, China, on February 6, 2012. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #
A blacksmith uses a ladle to fling molten metal against a stone wall during the Lantern Festival in Nuanquan, China, on February 6, 2012. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #
A shower of sparks falls around a blacksmith as he throws molten metal against a stone wall during the Lantern Festival in Nuanquan, China, on February 6, 2012. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #
This photo taken on February 6, 2012 shows spectators silhouetted as they watch a dragon dance in front of a blacksmith throwing molten metal against a nearby stone wall to create sparks at the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations in Nuanquan, China. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #
A blacksmith, ladle full of molten metal in hand, prepares to fling it against a cold wall to create more sparks in Nuanquan, China, on February 6, 2012. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #
Blacksmiths prepare more molten metal to be thrown against a stone wall in a centuries-old traditional celebration of the Lantern Festival in Nuanquan, China, on February 6, 2012. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #

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