What is the Lantern Festival that Google is doodling?

22 Feb 2016

Google has celebrated the end of the Chinese New Year with a Doodle of the Lantern Festival adorning its search page. But what’s it all about?

The Lantern Festival is one of the prettier events of the year, when people light up paper lanterns and set them free in the skies above.

It marks the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, the last day of the Spring Festival, and one very bright day for the night sky.

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It’s more than 2,000 years old and celebrated beyond just the borders of China, with the lanterns signifying the longer days to come in the spring and summer.

Weirdly, the reach of this Google Doodle isn’t that far, with just Ireland, the UK, Malaysia and Taiwan seeing it on their search pages.

The Lantern Festival later in the year, celebrated outside of China, is completely different to this one, with 22 February often considered China’s equivalent to our Valentine’s Day.


Lantern Festival Google Doodle

“Guest ‘doodler’ Patrick Leger chose to honour this day,” explains Google. “The lanterns represent a smooth transition into the new year and the shedding of one’s past.

“The festival is known for traditions in addition to lantern lighting—lion dances, and eating tangyuan, to name a few. With today’s doodle, we join in the celebration.”

What’s tangyuan? Well, balls of rice and gluten, of course.

Lantern Festival image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic