Ten tips on Lantern Festival: What’s the difference between glutinous rice balls and Yuanxiao?

China News Network
It’s another year of Lantern Festival. Lantern Festival is one of the traditional festivals in China. In many people’s minds, "it takes fifteen years to finish the year", while in some places it is directly called "off-year".
How did the Lantern Festival come about? As a seasonal food, what are the differences between glutinous rice balls and Yuanxiao? He Shaoya, a lecturer at the School of Sociology, Beijing Normal University, said that the Lantern Festival, as an important part of the annual festival and the finale of the Spring Festival, has a close relationship with the establishment of the first day of the first month.
As for Yuanxiao and Tangyuan, which people like to eat, the shapes are similar but the production methods are slightly different. There is a folk saying that "Bao" dumplings "roll" Yuanxiao. In addition, some places will eat lettuce on the Lantern Festival, which means "making money".
Data Map: Tai ‘an Daimiao Square held folk activities such as dragon dance, lion dance and stilt walking to celebrate the Lantern Festival. Photo by Liu Shui
How did the Lantern Festival come about?
There are many opinions about the origin of the Lantern Festival. One of the more influential sayings is that the Lantern Festival originated from Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty who went to Ganquan Temple to burn lanterns to worship Taiyi God on the first lunar month.
He Shaoya said that "Historical Records of Le Shu" contains: "Han people often spend the first month in the Xin Temple as a sweet spring, and when they are unconscious, they will die in the Ming Dynasty. Meteors often pass through the altar, making 70 men and women sing. "
She believes that the origin of Lantern Festival involves complex historical and cultural elements, such as traditional production and life cycle, astronomical calendar knowledge, folk belief in the moon and the time system of "Year".
Since the formulation and promulgation of the "taichu calendar" in the Han Dynasty, the fifteenth night of the first month has become the first full moon night of the New Year. It is this round of full moon that places people’s good expectations for a good agricultural weather and a happy life.
It is an important part of the festival?
Many traditional festivals in China rely on natural time series, such as Tomb-Sweeping Day and Qingming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Summer Solstice, Mid-Autumn Festival and Autumn Equinox, Winter Solstice Festival and Winter Solstice.
However, He Shaoya said that the Lantern Festival did not correspond to a specific time sequence. As an important part of the annual festival and the finale of the Spring Festival, the Lantern Festival’s prominent position is closely related to the establishment of the first day of the first month.
It is precisely because of the establishment of the first day of the first month that the full moon on the fifteenth day of the first month has the special significance of "the bright moon begins with a circle".
"Noisy" is the theme of Lantern Festival?
The Spring Festival is a traditional festival of the Chinese nation. Generally speaking, it includes two parts: the busy year (welcoming the new year) and the resignation year (resigning the old year). The time generally begins on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month and ends on the fifteenth day of the first month.
Data Map: People celebrate the Lantern Festival by dancing dragons. Photo by Yang Huafeng
"Noisy" is the theme of Lantern Festival activities. There are various forms of "noisy", with noisy tourists, loud gongs and drums and bright lights.
During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the people had a very lively Lantern Festival, and all kinds of musical instruments and songs and dances were staged. Gu Lu’s "Qing Jia Lu" records that "before and after the Lantern Festival, Bihu played gongs and drums, and it was written, which was called the Lantern Festival".
Besides, there are fireworks. According to the Records of Shuozhou written by Yongzheng in Qing Dynasty, the folk "set up Aoshan Mountain, burn flourishing fires, put up lanterns and flowers, and have a feast among groups", which is called "Lantern Festival". After this "noise", people return to daily life again.
"Tangyuan" is also called "floating dumpling"?
If we want to talk about the seasonal food of the Lantern Festival, we have to mention "glutinous rice balls".
Tangyuan, also known as Yuanzi, Tangtuan, etc. According to the records, "People in Beijing regard fermented bean powder as a branch to make soup, boiled glutinous rice as pills, and candied rice as mash, which is called’ Yuanzi’."
The "dumpling" here is the later glutinous rice balls, but the practice and eating method are different from now. At that time, the dumplings were not stuffed, and they were eaten with sugar syrup.
In the Song Dynasty, Zhou Bida wrote a poem, "It seems that the predecessors of Yuanxiao boiled floating dumplings never endowed this sitting room with four rhymes", which mentioned: "The stars are in the dark clouds, and the beads are floating in the turbid water." Floating dumplings are glutinous rice balls, and cooking floating dumplings during the Lantern Festival symbolizes a full moon and happiness.
"Tangyuan" and "Yuanxiao" are stupid and unclear?
Yuanxiao and Tangyuan are similar in appearance, but their making methods are different.
He Shaoya introduced that after the Ming Dynasty, the so-called round sub-category seasonal food in the Song Dynasty was also called glutinous rice balls and Yuanxiao. The name of "Yuanxiao" is mainly popular in the north, and it is often called "Tangyuan" in the south.
"Clear-handed banknotes" says: "Tangyuan is called dumplings, and northerners call it Yuanxiao, which is a must-eat on the evening of the above yuan." As far as the production method is concerned, there is a folk saying that "dumplings are wrapped" and "dumplings are rolled".
There are also some differences between the two in stuffing. Yuanxiao is mostly sweet stuffing, including bean paste and black sesame seeds. Tangyuan is sweet, salty, meat and vegetarian, such as fruit and meat.
Data Map: The picture shows the cartoon dumplings made. Li yanran
With the development of the times, the fillings of Yuanxiao and Tangyuan are more abundant. Some merchants have introduced Yuanxiao with various novel flavors, and some have also introduced low-sugar and xylitol Tangyuan.
What other foods are there?
In terms of diet, the custom of Lantern Festival presents a colorful side.
For example, in some places, noodles are eaten during the Lantern Festival, also known as "lamps". "Dengzhaner" is generally composed of two parts, the bottom is a small cake made of sticky yellow wheat, and the wheat straw section wrapped in yellow paper is inserted on it, and the yellow paper is dipped in cooking oil for burning.
On the day of Lantern Festival, people light lamps and put them on windowsills and doorways at home to pray for good luck. After lighting the lamps, yellow wheat’s cookies are left for frying or frying cooked food.
In Guangdong, lettuce is popular in Lantern Festival. Lettuce is homophonic with "making money" in order to win a good title, and hope that the cause is developed and the financial resources are rolling.
He Shaoya said that in Yangzhou and Nantong, Jiangsu, there is a saying that "the lanterns are round and the lanterns are falling", which means that on the thirteenth night of the first month, the lanterns are lit and the dumplings are eaten; On the eighteenth day of the first month, when the lights go down, you should eat noodles. In Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, people eat bad soup during the Lantern Festival.
Is Lantern Festival an ancient carnival in China?
Lantern Festival is known as the carnival in ancient China, and its carnival is rare in traditional festivals.
In ancient cities, there was a curfew, and at night, Jin Wu (a ceremonial stick bearer) was on duty. However, during the Lantern Festival, the official gives holidays and night tours to facilitate the viewing of the lanterns. At this time, officials, people, gentry, men, women and children went out of the family, feasting and having fun, and enjoying the night tour.
In the Tang Dynasty, Liu Su’s "A New Story of the Tang Dynasty" said: "On the occasion of the Dragon, the capital will look at the sun in the first month and will be decorated with lanterns and shadows. Jin Wu is forbidden and licensed to travel at night. You visit relatives and workers in Xiali, and all of them travel at night. "
Data Map: In Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, the "matchmaker" played by an actor performed a community fire to celebrate the Lantern Festival. China News Service reporter Wei Liang photo
In addition, during the ancient Lantern Festival, women could take advantage of the festival to go to the streets and have a good swim. It is precisely because of this carnival that young men and women can get to know each other at this time, and many literary and artistic works describe the love that happened during the Lantern Festival.
In Song Dynasty, Ouyang Xiu wrote in "Born Chazi Yuanxi": "Last year, at the Lantern Festival, the flower market lights were like day. The moon rose above the willow tree, At dusk he had a tryst with me. The lantern festival on the fifteenth day of the first month of this year, the moonlight and the lights are still the same as last year. I didn’t see last year, and I cried Man Chun’s shirt sleeve. "
When did the Lantern Festival custom appear?
There is still debate in the academic circles about the finalization period of the Lantern Festival. However, it is generally believed that the Lantern Festival custom appeared in the Han, Wei and Six Dynasties. After the Tang and Song Dynasties, the Lantern Festival custom gradually flourished with the development of urban life, and many festivals and customs have been passed down to this day.
Like a lamp. "Like a Dream" records the Kaifeng area in the Ming Dynasty: "The palaces and squires put lanterns on their furniture and have a feast. There are 70 or 80 classes in the big plow (pear) garden in each family. There are light sheds in all the temples, lanterns in all the furniture, and door lights in front of the door to compete for fireworks. "
Playing with social fire is also one of the customs of Lantern Festival. Social fire is a kind of vaudeville activity to entertain the gods and people. Up to now, in Hebei, Shanxi, Gansu and other places, playing social fire on the Lantern Festival is still an important activity of the New Year Festival.
Data Map: On the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, the "Jiuqu Yellow River Lantern Array" in Ganzhou District, Zhangye City, Gansu Province lit up to celebrate the Lantern Festival. Cheng xuelei
He Shaoya, for example, said that Taolinping Flower Face Social Fire in Jingxing County, Hebei Province belongs to the martial arts social fire, which mainly focuses on performing the familiar fragments of classical masterpieces, in addition to the running ceremony.
Why do you want to "walk all diseases" at this time?
In ancient times, there was a custom of "walking away from all diseases" on the fifteenth day of the first month (or walking on the bridge, etc.), that is, on the night of the Lantern Festival, women met and traveled together, and when they saw the bridge, they thought it would help them get rid of diseases and prolong their lives.
In Liu Dong’s "A Brief Introduction to the Scenery of the Imperial Capital" in the Ming Dynasty, there is a saying: "Women walk at night to eliminate diseases, saying that they walk away from all diseases and walking on bridges."
Every Lantern Festival, some places have the custom of worshipping Zigu. Zigu is the "girl" god worshipped by ancient women. The custom of welcoming Zigu has existed since the Southern and Northern Dynasties.
In the Southern Dynasties, Liang Zonggu’s Chronicle of the Age of Jingchu said: Yuanxiao "welcomes Zigu in the evening, so as to predict the future sericulture and occupy all affairs."
How to inherit the custom of Lantern Festival?
The inheritance of festivals requires the holistic existence of many elements such as time, space and ritual activities. The sociality and publicity of the Lantern Festival are in line with the public cultural services of modern countries and contain rich traditional cultural resources.
He Shaoya said that nowadays, new technologies such as sound and photoelectricity can be combined with the tradition of lantern display and traditional lantern making process, and new technologies can be used to promote the design and manufacture of lanterns, and the "lantern market" with knowledge and interest, modernity and tradition can meet the cultural needs of the broad masses.
For another example, we can take advantage of the tradition of attaching importance to community collective entertainment and members’ communication during the Lantern Festival, and organize street communities to carry out lantern festivals, group dumplings, interactive games, etc., so as to enhance the familiarity among community members and rebuild crowd connections.