Chinese Spring Lantern Festival by Nicole Chan

As I slip on my jade green qipao(1)

I peek at myself in the reflection in the gold bagua(2) mirror

Dazzling sequins on Chinese silk reflect the light in the room

Mama(3) comes in to wish me luck tonight

Tonight, the spring Lantern Festival, the night to find a sweetheart.

Clutching my ruby lantern, I stroll down the street lit by the full moon

A red marked tangerine in my right hand

I hear a calm and soothing flute melody ringing in the background

As I approach the pier, I throw my tangerine into the sea

Continuing the tradition of finding a future husband

Floating with the current along the pier,

my fate flows down joining the bobbing tangerines too

Clusters of multicolored girls in glowing silk stand on the harbor waiting

Shyly, I nervously skip down along the pier following my destiny

On the other side, I see a slender young man wearing the grey changshan(4) of a scholar

He scoops up a tangerine with grace

The lilting sound of the flute makes me tremble with excitement

As he holds up the fruit, I gasp and see my red mark

I excitedly glide toward him and look up into his dark almond eyes

This is what my heart was waiting for


1) A Chinese traditional one piece dress for women

2) A round mirror surrounded by an octagonal frame with the Bagua design

3) Mom

4) A Chinese traditional dress for men