Celebrating the Lantern Festival the Johnian Way

By Miro Cafolla, Postgraduate and International Tutor.

About a month ago, John’s hosted a wonderful event in the Tristram room so as to celebrate the Lantern Festival.

The Lantern festival is a traditional Chinese festival taking place fifteen days after the Lunar New Year. The festival marks the end of the celebrations for the New Year and people use to go out carrying red lanterns. The red lanterns which characterise the festival symbolise good fortune and prosperity. There are many legends about the festival with roots tracing back to more than 2000 years ago. According to one of them, the God of heaven was going to destroy the capital with a storm of fire on the fifteenth lunar day. People saved their lives deceiving the god and its troops: thanks to the red lanterns, the capital appeared to be already burning down and the troops sent by the God returned to heaven. From that day, people celebrate the anniversary on the fifteenth day of the New Year.

During the celebrations here at John’s, we had some good fun preparing and tasting quite a lot of delicious dumplings- the tradition says that the more dumplings you eat the wealthier you will be in the New Year! We then practised some calligraphy with traditional brushes and ink and we learnt how to write our names in Chinese. Then, with just some red paper we practised paper cutting and were able to realise amazing paper animals and objects of any kind and size!

The event was undoubtedly a great opportunity to foster the relationships among the different communities of our college and confirmed, once again, the very well-known spirit of warm friendliness John’s is famous for.

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