Here in China, Sunday's Lantern Festival for Year of the Tiger was not just the last day in February. Fifteen days immediately after the celebratory bash that thundered in the Chinese New Year on February 14th, the full moon ushered in a lustrous atmosphere of lanterns and riddles, "yuanxiao" rice dumplings and family unity.
One local Tianjin woman explains.
"Here in China, no matter how far away from our homes we are, during the Spring Festival we make it a point to travel to be reunited with our family members again. The Lantern Festival is one of the most significant (holidays) in our culture here in China. The lantern is something unique and most representative of our Chinese culture."
The Lantern Festival has remained a Chinese tradition, kindled over the centuries by China's affection for elegant beauty and detail.
Liu Yang who works in Beijing but is from the southern city of Suzhou, says the festival has evolved over the years.
"During the Lantern Festival, there'll be really huge lanterns and also a really big tree that's hung and decorated with a lot of lantern riddles. One wins a prize when he can answer the riddle correctly."
"The Yuanxiao Festival involves the whole process of eating these sweet rice dumplings. From the making of these balls, to cooking them, to enjoying them together as a family, we can really enjoy the warmth of our families and soak in the atmosphere of this joyous occasion."
But Liu also says not everyone can go home for the Lantern Festival to partake in this activity.
Even though small "yuanxiao" rice dumplings were sold last weekend on streets and in supermarkets, those who were unable to make the journey home to visit their families said the warmth and tastes of home could not be overrated or duplicated.
All the same, eating store-bought "yuanxiao" may have been their only option. And yet, eating the rice dumplings is still a small reminder of a time long ago when perhaps things did seem a bit simpler.
For the Beijing Hour, I'm Andrea Hunt.