Celebrate Yuan Xiao Jie (Shang Yuan Jie) 庆祝元宵节（上元节）
Yuan Xiao Jie (元宵节)
For most Chinese, the Chinese New Year ends on the 15th of first lunar month.
In Taoism this day is known as Shang Yuan Jie (上元节), which is the Manifestation Anniversary (birthday) of Tian Guan Da Di (天官大帝), the day that he goes down to earth.
In folk customs, the day is commonly known as Yuan Xiao Jie (元宵节). The full moon occurs on the 15th of a lunar month, and the first full moon of a lunar year is the 15th of first lunar month, which is Yuan Xiao Jie. The words "Yuan Xiao" mean "first night", or the first night of the year that the moon is full.
Yuan Xiao Jie is also known as Lantern Festival (灯节). At night there will be decorative lanterns hung all over the place, and riddles will be written on some of them (猜灯谜). In Putian (莆田), Yuan Xiao Jie is celebrated for about 20 days, well beyond the 15th of the first lunar month, and it is considered more important than the eve and first day of Chinese New Year. According to legend, there was an foreign invasion that ended after the first few days of Chinese New Year, which resulted in delay in starting their Chinese New Year celebration.
Yuan Xiao Jie is often associated with romance, and is considered the Chinese Valentine Day. In the traditional Chinese feudal system of the past unmarried women were not allowed to go out freely and mingle with strangers, except on Yuan Xiao Jie, providing an opportunity for unmarried men and women to meet and fall in love.
In Singapore, Yuan Xiao Jie is a big event in Heng Hwa and Teochew temples. Heng Hwa temples celebrate with grand religious rituals (see video below). For the case of Wak Hai Cheng Bio, a Teochew temple, the celebration starts on the eve and lasts through the night. Their Teochew and Cantonese devotees visit on the eve to exchange flags, lanterns and red packets, and to get a new set of sugar lions (糖狮). They setup offerings, joss sticks and candles on the floor of the temple's courtyard, creating a stunning spectacle in the darkness of the night.
Sugar Lion is made from hot syrup (sugar) poured into a lion-shaped mold and allow it to cool. Lion symbolizes wealth and good luck, and is also capable of repelling evil spirits. It is a Teochew tradition to offer sugar lion to god on Yuan Xiao Jie.