Chinese Lantern Festival 2012 Lights up the Sky

Celebrated on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar year, the stunning Lantern Festival lit up skies from China to Singapore on Feb. 6, concluding the festivities of the Chinese New Year. According to Chinese tradition, at the very beginning of a New Year when there is a full moon in the sky, there should be thousands of colorful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate.

In 2012, lanterns with themes for the Year of the Dragon wound through cities from Taipei to Shanghai.


People walk under red lanterns on display during Lantern Festival celebrations in Taipei February 5, 2012. The Lantern Festival or Yuan Xiao Jie is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month of the lunar year in the Chinese calendar. The Lantern Festival is also known as the Little New Year since it marks the end of the series of celebrations starting from the Chinese New Year. (REUTERS / Pichi Chuang)


People walk at an area decorated with lanterns ahead of the Lantern Festival at Yu Yuan Garden in downtown Shanghai February 3, 2012. The festival marks the last day of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations and falls on February 6 this year. (Reuters)


A dragon dance is performed amid fireworks during a Lantern Festival celebration in Chongqing municipality, February 6, 2012. The Lantern Festival occurs on the 15th day of the Chinese Lunar New Year and marks the end of the Spring Festival. (Reuters)


People walk in an area decorated with lanterns during the Lantern Festival at Yu Yuan Garden in downtown Shanghai February 6, 2012. The Lantern Festival occurs on the 15th day of the Chinese Lunar New Year and marks the end of the Spring Festival. (REUTERS / Aly Song)


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, 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. The Lantern Festival was celebrated on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, with festivities and celebrations across the island. (Reuters)


People look at giant illuminated lanterns in a park in the town of Zhaoyuan, located 100 km (62 miles) south of the city of Yantai, Shandong Province February 6, 2012. The Lantern Festival occurs on the 15th day of the Chinese Lunar New Year and marks the end of Spring Festival. (REUTERS / David Gray)


People carry a dragon sculpture during a parade to celebrate the Lantern Festival on the last day of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province February 6, 2012. (Reuters)


Local residents burn incense as they pray for good fortune outside Dafo Temple on the Lantern Festival, the last day of Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, in Zhengding County, Hebei province, February 6, 2012. (REUTERS / Jason Lee)


A folk performer with his face painted to appear as knife cuts, and wearing a knife prop on his head, takes part in a “Blood Shehuo” parade to celebrate the Lantern Festival on the last day of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations at Chisha village in Baoji, Shaanxi province February 6, 2012. “Shehuo” is common name of Chinese traditional activities consisting of folk performances in Northern China. The “Blood Shehuo” performers wear facial makeup to appear as being pierced by objects including axes, scissors and knives, featuring scenes of horror in traditional stories like Water Margin. This activity is held only in Baoji county and performed only during leap years. (REUTERS / Rooney Chen)


Local residents wait to perform a dragon dance during a folk art performance celebrating the Lantern Festival on the last day of Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Zhengding County, Hebei province, February 6, 2012. (REUTERS / Jason Lee)


A man waits for a folk art performance celebrating the Lantern Festival on the last day of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Zhengding County, Hebei province, February 6, 2012. (REUTERS / Jason Lee)


Local residents perform a dragon dance during a folk art performance celebrating the Lantern Festival on the last day of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Zhengding County, Hebei province, February 6, 2012. (REUTERS / Jason Lee)


A man smokes as he waits for a folk art performance celebrating the Lantern Festival on the last day of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Zhengding County, Hebei province, February 6, 2012. (REUTERS / Jason Lee)


Local residents dance during a folk art performance celebrating the Lantern Festival on the last day of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Zhengding County, Hebei province, February 6, 2012. (REUTERS / Jason Lee)


A woman reacts as she walk in an area decorated with lanterns ahead of the Lantern Festival at Yu Yuan Garden in downtown Shanghai February 5, 2012. The festival marks the last day of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations and falls on February 6 this year. (REUTERS / Carlos Barria)

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