The Moon Lantern Festival is celebrated in China and parts of Asia on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Steeped in legends that date to ancient time the Toaist believed that the god Tianguan was responsible for good fortune. His birthday falls on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. It is said that Tianguan likes all types of entertainment, so followers prepare various kinds of activities during which they pray for good fortune.
But there are numerous other legends. One tells of an ancient warrior named Lan Moon, who led a rebellion against the tyrannical king in ancient China. He was killed in the storming of the city and the successful rebels commemorated the festival in his name.
My favourite legend describes a beautiful crane that flew down to earth from heaven was hunted and killed by some villagers. This angered the Jade Emperor in Heaven who decided to destroy the village on the 15th lunar day. The Jade Emperor's daughter warned the inhabitants of her father's plan to destroy their village. A sage suggested that families should hang red lanterns around their houses, set up bonfires on the streets, and explode firecrackers on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth lunar days. This would give the village the appearance of being on fire to the Jade Emperor and he would leave them alone.
On the 15th lunar day the Jade Emperor sent troops but when they saw the village already ablaze they returned to heaven. Since then people celebrate the anniversary by carrying lanterns on the streets, exploding firecrackers and setting off fireworks.
One thing is for sure, it is also supposed create a positive relationship between man and nature. It's also a visual feast for the kids.
Adelaide's Moon Lantern Festival at Elder Park will be a magical experience for the whole family. As well as the paper lanterns lighting up the part there will be market stall, cooking and martial arts demonstration and a parade of the lantern.
The event is part of the OzAsia festival and will be hosted by Annette Shun Wah (writer, performer and broadcaster). For more information click here.