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Chinese Lantern Festival

A parade in which families carry beautifully designed lanterns around their city or a nearby park is the highlight of the Lantern Festival, celebrated on the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations. The lanterns often take fantastic forms and shapes, such as animals and magical beasts. Traditionally lanterns are illuminated by candles and carried on sticks. The lantern described here is also hung on a stick, and the illusion of candlelight is created by a yellow lining.


  • 1 sheet of lightweight yellow paper, about 11" x 15"
  • clear tape or glue
  • 1 sheet of heavy red paper, about 11" x 17"
  • scissors
  • string
  • stick
  • tassels (optional)

Lantern InstructionsInstructions:

1. Roll the yellow paper lengthwise to form a long cylinder. Tape or glue it together.

2. Fold the red paper in half widthwise. Draw a line about one inch from the unfolded edge. Make cuts in the red paper about one-half inch apart, from the folded up edge up to the line you have drawn. Be careful not to cut through the unfolded edge.

3. Open the paper out, wrap the uncut ends around the yellow cylinder, and tape or glue it on. Then hang the lantern on the stick with the string.

4. If you like, you can add tassels. You can also make a longer cylinder and tape or glue several smaller red shades to it, one above the other.

This activity can be seen in Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz and The Children's Museum, Boston. Published by Harcourt Trade Publishers/Gulliver, ©2002.


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