Thursday, 21 February 2008

元宵节 – yuán xiāo jié – Lantern Festival

Today is the Lantern Festival, also known as 元宵节 or yuán xiāo jié. It marks the end of the celebration of the Spring Festival. It is traditional to eat 汤圆 – tāng yuán – Rice flour dumplings on the day of the Lantern Festival.

The first character 元, yuán means the first or principal.

The second character 宵, xiāo means night.

The third character 节, jié means a festival, and we have seen this character before in 春节 - chūn jié – Spring Festival.

yuán is pronounced you-wan, with a 2nd or rising tone.

xiāo is pronounced she-ow to rhyme with meow, with a 1st or high, level tone.

jié is pronounced jee-air, with a 2nd or rising tone.