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Lantern Festival Romance

2021.02.26 23 Font size:

Lantern Festival is the carnival in ancient China. On this day, curfew was lifted to allow outdoor celebration throughout the whole night, wrapping up the Spring Festival in spree. Many romances hence took place between young people. In Chinese literature, there are various poems and stories on the Lantern Festival romance. 

青玉案·元夕

宋  辛弃疾

东风夜放花千树,更吹落,星如雨。宝马雕车香满路。凤箫声动,玉壶光转,一夜鱼龙舞。
蛾儿雪柳黄金缕,笑语盈盈暗香去。众里寻他千百度,蓦然回首,那人却在,灯火阑珊处。


Green Jade Cup · The Lantern Festival Night

By Xin Qiji (Song Dynasty)


East winds blow.

Lanterns glow.

Like millions of trees blossoming,

like thousands of stars dropping.

Swift horses,

run back and forth,

lovely ladies,

give off charming scents.

melodies are played by the pipe,

the brilliant moon is shining in the sky.

Fish and dragon lanterns dance all night.


With gold ornaments of unusual grace,

fair ladies were ringing in a silver voice.

Suddenly I look up over,

happen to meet the girl in the corner,

where lights are quite dim and sombre.


生查子·元夕

宋  欧阳修

去年元夜时,花市灯如昼。

月上柳梢头,人约黄昏后。

今年元夜时,月与灯依旧。

不见去年人,泪湿春衫袖。


Sheng Zha Zi · The Lantern Festival Night

By Ouyang Xiu (Song Dynasty)


Last year at the night of Lantern Festival,

the flower market lights did glow.

As the moon rose above the willows,

my lover and I dated after nightfall.


This year at the Lantern Festival,

The moon and the lights are just like before;

Knowing that I will no longer see the girl,

so many tears drench the sleeve that I can’t hold.