The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year holiday. People hang lanterns everywhere - in the streets, in temples, at their homes, and in public spaces. The lanterns are also carried in a night parade under the light of the full moon. Some of the lanterns are painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, or scenes from legends. The lantern festival marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.
An important part of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The New Year dragon dances are performed to scare away evil spirits. The dragon, which might stretch as much as a football field long, is often made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Long dragons are thought to be luckier than shorter ones.
The dragon is usually held up by young men who dance as they walk the colorful dragon through the streets. During the dance the men hold poles that raise and lower the dragon.
Unlike people of many other cultures, the Chinese think of dragons as helpful, friendly creatures. They are linked to good luck, long life and wisdom.