Expatriate families celebrate Lantern Festival
Eighteen families from China, France, Russia, Malaysia and Cambodia on Saturday had an early celebration of the Lantern Festival, which falls on Sunday this year, in Shanghai.
At the Evergreen City Farm in Huacao Town of Minhang District, which was decorated with festival elements, such as lanterns and New Year flower bunches, they guessed lantern riddles, made tangyuan (汤圆 glutinous rice balls with sweet or salty fillings), assembled rabbit-themed lanterns and tried other folk activities for the traditional festival that marks the end of the celebration of the Chinese New Year.
“The Lantern Festival is cute and interesting,” said Lim Siew Ming, a 10-year-old, whose parents are from Malaysia and Cambodia.
Lim wore a red traditional Chinese costume. She said her family had celebrated Lantern Festival before, but this was the first time they had spent the day with local families.
Galina Sdobnikova, who came from Russia to China in 2016, said it was the sixth year for her to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
“I like everything connected with the New Year, with these traditions and celebrations, starting from preparing the home for the New Year to ending with making traditional food and following some of the traditions,” she told Shanghai Daily.
Sdobnikova lives in Qingpu District and applied for the event after learning about it from the official WeChat account of Huacao Town.
“I like it very much, because it's fun," she said. "It provides an opportunity to get to know more people too.
Dressing up and enjoying crafts
“This event is very nice because you can have a better understanding of why it is called Yuanxiao Jie (the first full-moon night of a new lunar year) and to get to know about the story behind this festival," she added.
"I think it's very important for foreigners living in China to understand the culture and history of China. So I think the more activities, the better for us.”
Making glutinous rice balls with sweet fillings.
Tang Peili, an official of the town, said the Lantern Festival was just a start and they will organize more events for the Dragon Boat Festival, Qixi (七夕, the seventh day of the seventh lunar month), which is also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day, the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Spring Festival.
“We are also considering expanding the activity scale to have more international friends celebrate traditional Chinese festivals with us,” said Tang.
Huacao has one of the largest expat communities in Shanghai with about 6,000 international residents, in 3,000 families, who are from 76 countries and regions. It is also home to four international schools.