Lantern festival preparations in full swing in Chinatown, Kolkata
In Kolkata’s Chinatown, preparations have already started for the celebrations of the Chinese spring festival, lantern festival on February 14, which coincides with Valentine Day this year. The Chinese homes and streets will have fabulous lantern displays and children will carry ornate lanterns through the streets joyfully.
Kolkata's Chinese community, residing mainly in the eastern Tangra area, is all set to celebrate the occasion with lighted lanterns and festivities amidst the lion and dragon dances with loud drum beats. The festival is supposed to mark the end of the Chinese New Year celebration of 15 days to bring good luck during the year ahead.
Since Lantern festival marks the last day of the Chinese New Year festival season, young Chinese celebrate it with a touch of romance. This year, extra romance would be in the air as it is valentine's day as well.
At the end of Chinese New Year season on February 14, there is a bright full moon in the sky, thousands of colorful lanterns are hung out and glutinous rice balls are eaten as an expression of joy and good fortune as well. All over the world, the Chinese dominated localities on this day become a virtual ocean of lanterns of different designs and colours.
Traditionally, lanterns are made of bamboo and paper in different shapes and sizes from tiny ones to larger than life. As usual, animals will be a common theme for lanterns, with the year's current animal 'horse' being a favourite. However, home-made lanterns will be in geometrical shapes as they are easy to make.