Dengxi, literally the Lantern Opera, is a Sichuan folk song and dance opera popular in rural areas. Evolving from ceremonies of exorcism as practiced in the villages, the Lantern Opera is widespread in Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality. Rural people say that it isn't opera if there are no lanterns.
The Lantern Opera is filled with local color. During a performance, in order to attract an audience, lanterns bearing the characters of "Longevity" and "Good Harvest" are hung up, hence the name Lantern Opera
The Lantern Opera resembles the music and dance of ancient times - like those performed during festivals, after big harvests, weddings or funerals. It is performed indoors during the Spring Festival or when greeting the bride. There are several kinds of Lantern Opera:
Dideng, literally 'Ground Lantern', is performed outdoors during good harvests, weddings or funerals when red lanterns are hung. Niudeng, literally 'Ox Lantern', features one or two people dressed as an ox. Tiandeng, literally 'Field Lantern', features a man ploughing the field during a good harvest. In paomadeng, literally 'Running-Horse Lantern', the performers hold lanterns in their hands in the shapes of chickens, ducks, pigs and lambs and swing them in rhythm while dancing - praying their livestock will thrive.
The Lantern Opera usually adapts content from local dramas and stories and is sung in the local dialect. The main accompanying instruments include dulcimers, flutes, lutes, and urheens. Because of its exaggerated movements, humorous expressions, and vivacious dances, the opera is popular among local people.