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Lantern Festival poem

Ancient poets had countless poems of praising Lantern Festival, and now it is still fun to read.

New Year’s Day by Wang Anshi

Wang Anshi (December 8, 1021 – May 21, 1086) was a Chinese economist, statesman, chancellor and poet of the Song Dynasty who attempted controversial, major socioeconomic reforms. These reforms constituted the core concepts and motives of the Reformists, while their nemesis, Chancellor Sima Guang, led the Conservative faction against them.

The noise of crackers sends away the old last year,
The spring wind makes wine warm for New Year;
The bright sun shines hundred thousands of houses,
New charms replace the old ones to protect us.

At Lantern Festival by Ouyang Xiu

Ouyang Xiu was one of the major players in the Qingli Reforms of the 1040s and was in charge of creating the New History of the Tang Dynasty. He was also regarded as one of the great masters of prose of the Tang and Song era. He was also a noted writer of both shi and ci poetry.

Lights were bright as day last year
In the market of flowers,
And the moon was mounting to the willows’ tops above us,
We lovers meeting to keep their tryst after dusk just here.
The bright lights and the moon look as good as last year,
But She cann’t be seen now at Lantern Festival,
Tears making wetmy sleeves, Coming down my cheers.

Counter-translation:

In the 15th night last year,
The flower market was lit up by the lanterns bright as day.
When the moon climbed to the top of the willow tree,
I met my date on time –just after the nightfall.

In the 15th night this year,
The moon, the lanterns were same there.
I could not find my last year’s date,
My festival dress sleeves were wet with tears.

In Tang Dynasty, the Chinese Lantern Festival has developed into a grand event, the Tang poets described grand occasion of lantern festival, their poems contain happiness and  bustling scene.

Tang poet Su Weidao

Tang poet Su Weidao

Lantern Festival poem in Tang Dynasty:

元夕 [唐]苏味道

火树银花合,星桥铁锁开。
暗尘随马去,明月逐人来。
游妓皆秾李,行歌尽落梅。
金吾不禁夜,玉漏莫相催。

This poem described a  scenery of  Lantern Festival in the evening at Chang-an town, to the effect that:

The light is brightly, tonight the no-go area is opening.
The horse gallop that stirred up the dust,the moon seemed to follow the people.
The young  singing girls look more beautiful, they walk and sing songs.
The capital guards does not work tonight, the drum will not urge the people back home.

十五夜观灯 [唐]卢照邻

锦里开芳宴。兰缸艳早年。
缛彩遥分地。繁光远缀天。
接汉疑星落。依楼似月悬。
别有千金笑。来映九枝前。

This poem described the atmosphere of Lantern Festival, and the beautiful light of lanterns in the evening, to the effect that:

People were busying worship the immortal of year after Chinese New Year, they putting on new clothes and eating food, However, the recreational activities were relatively few;

The Lantern Festival broke this dull atmosphere, brought the New Year and the first month’s celebrations to a climax;

The Lantern Festival let the earth to be very colorful, or even have the stars  which were in the sky togethered into one place, the distance (light) like the stars fell to the ground, the light relying on floor it seems like the moon.

Beautiful girls’ laughter add more glory to this holiday.

Read the oldest lantern peom.





  1. mahesh says:

    very nice poim

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