Chapter 109.1 – Brief Interlude
One of the most important programs of the Lantern Festival was admiring lanterns.
In his previous life, although An Zi Ran studied science, for certain reasons, he once studied history, especially historical culture, and the Lantern Festival was a kind of historical culture.
The Lantern Festival began in the Han Dynasty, rose in the Tang Dynasty, and flourished in the Song Dynasty. It has always been an important traditional festival among the common folk. On the fifteenth day of the first lunar month of the lunar calendar, and on the night when the moon was high, families would light up lanterns to celebrate. It was a very grand occasion.
However, there were some differences between the two.
In his previous life, there was only one Lantern Festival each year, but Da Ya had it four times a year, and the people of Da Ya paid great attention to the Lantern Festival. The most distinguished representative (of the festival) was the Lantern Competition, which was admiring handmade lanterns.
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The Lantern Competition was held during the second half of the Lantern Festival.
When the Lantern Festival was halfway through, everyone would have enjoyed the lively atmosphere of the festival, and at this time, they would directly go to the Lantern Competition.
For example, right now, An Zi Ran and Fu Wu Tian had just left the Lantern Mountain and they were following the crowd towards the Lantern Competition.
Looking at it from afar, there were thousands of colorful lights, like a dream, an unprecedented grand occasion.
After seeing this scene, no one would think that Da Ya was still a precarious country, and no one would think that this prosperous age happened under the rule of an incapable ruler. But no matter what the future of Da Ya will be, at this moment, the people just wanted to cherish the present.
People at the Lantern Competition Convention competed with precisely lanterns.
No matter what kind of group it was, they could all participate in the competition, as long as they registered in advance.
When it came time for the Lantern Competition to start, those who signed up would bring the lanterns that they had made to the convention. Those who arrived in advance could also choose a prominent position by themselves and then hang up their lanterns.
The convention organizers would place a small box next to every lantern. The box had a small round hole. If viewers liked a lantern and thought that it was beautiful and valuable, they could vote for it to show support. At the entrance to the Lantern Competition Convention, people could collect a voting ticket. Each person could only take one, and no more. This was to prevent people from cheating.
There was only three hours for the Lantern Competition, and viewers could only vote during this time.
The time was not very long, but this was because the votes would be counted later to determine the top three lanterns. However, this was a rule only set up two years ago.
In the past, the results were only tallied up the day after the end of the competition, but this gave some people the opportunity to use their power and influence to cheat.
In order to secure a place among the top three, some government officials and wealthy families would do whatever they could. Therefore, prior to two years ago, it was always one of these people who would win top three in the Lantern Competition.
Afterwards, it caused public outrage, so the common people refused to participate in the subsequent Lantern Competitions. After all, it was pointless for them to participate if they couldn’t win anyway. Like so, only government officials and rich people attended the competition.
Not only that, but even more hilarious.
In the past, more than ninety-five percent of the votes came from the common folks, but ever since their children stopped participating in the Lantern Competition, these people did not vote anymore. As a result, the total number of votes in the three consecutive Lantern Competitions was much less than in the past, and the number of votes in the top three was almost an unbearably pitiful* number.
[*T/N: 惨不忍睹 can bu ren du – a spectacle too horrible to endure]
Later, the Chong Ming Emperor found out about this.
However, as an inept ruler, he possessed the extraordinary dull mind of an incompetent ruler.
The emperor did not make them change the competition regulations, instead he ordered that the commoners must attend the Lantern Competition, and those who disobeyed would be beheaded!
The people were terrified, so they could only have their daughters participate.
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However, they were also not people who would easily roll over, and they later came up with an exquisite solution.
They concentrated all of their votes on a certain family, so a very interesting scene appeared during the Lantern Competition. Many people lined up and cast their tickets into one box. As a result, the box was so full that the organizer had to use a new box.
In this way, it was very obvious who had the highest number of votes. No matter how much someone tried to cheat, it was impossible in the face of overwhelming numbers.
Therefore, a civilian girl held the first place in two consecutive Lantern Competitions. Having a civilian step on top of their heads made the second and third place winners – ladies of prominent families – mad enough to explode.
In the end, the organizer had to change the format of the Lantern Competition, which made the competition truly fair and continued to flourish. After the new system came out, those ladies from rich families were directly booted out of the top three. But there were still some people unwilling to accept this, and still tried to cheat. For example, spending money to hire hundreds of people to vote, but to no avail.
If they just gave each person ten coins, even hundreds of people would not cost too much money, but where would they find that many people? Not to mention hundreds of people was still not enough to guarantee a win.
The number of votes to get to third place in the Lantern Competition was more than one thousand votes. There was no need to mention first and second place, but the first place was usually no less than five thousand votes.
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
In addition, the current Lantern Competition has also increased the punishment system. Once it was found that a ticket was suspicious, not only would the contestant be disqualified from participating in the Lantern Competition, but the violation would also be reported, leaving a stain on her reputation for a lifetime. In this way, the Lantern Competition became a real contest.
There was less than half and hour left before the end of the competition.
An Zi Ran took two voting tickets from the person handing them out. Then he passed over the last card stock to the person handing out tickets.
The ticket person was a middle-aged man with a shrewd look. He didn’t take the piece of card stock paper as easily as the first two, but instead looked at the two of them suspiciously.
“What do you want to do? This isn’t a place where you can casually cause mischief!” The middle-aged man said with slight dissatisfaction, showing impatience in his eyes.
An Zi Ran retracted the card stock and said nothing. If the other party were not willing to help then he would not force it. But it was easy to make a bad impression.
The middle-aged man looked at his clear and cold face, and coldly snorted, “Take your tickets, and hurry up and leave. Blocking up the line here, don’t tell me you want more tickets. Leave. Leave. There are still a lot of people waiting to get a ticket!”
His tone of voice was so bad that even the people behind in line were unable to put up with it any longer.