Customs at Lantern Festival in Taizhou

(chinadaily.com.cn)

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The Lantern Festival, a traditional Chinese festival, falls on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month.

Other than the people who originate from the south of Fujian province and live in Wenling and Yuhuan, county-level cities in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, Taizhou natives regard the fourteenth day of the first lunar month as the Lantern Festival.

There are many explanations for its origin. According to Linhai Annals, Fang Guozhen, the leader of a peasant uprising in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), celebrated the festival a day earlier in case Zhu Yuanzhang, a monk-turned-rebel general, and the first commoner in almost 1,500 years to be crowned emperor, attacked him. Some say that Fang Guozhen knew his mother ate as a vegetarian on the first and fifteenth days of each lunar month, so he celebrated the festival a day earlier so his mother could eat delicious food with the family. Some say that the birthday of Dong, his wife, was the fourteenth day of the first lunar month. Other suggest that Linhai's Qin Minglei, the Number One Scholar of the Imperial Exam during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), ate as a vegetarian on the fifteenth day; but others think that confidential information about Ming general Qi Jiguang's defense against the Japanese invasion was divulged, so the festival was changed as a matter of strategy.

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The Lantern Festival, a traditional Chinese festival, falls on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. [Photo/taizhou.com.cn]

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