The Lantern Festival is a Chinese festival celebrated on the first full moon night of the lunar year. As far back as 206 BC, the Lantern Festival was one of the most important celebrations in the entire year. In Taiwan, it’s the most important festival of the year. The Taiwan Lantern Festival is an annual event hosted by the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Taiwan to celebrate the Lantern Festival.
At this time, Taiwanese will make lanterns, and solve lantern riddles. Families would often have a reunion to celebrate the end of the New Year. The festival’s traditional food would be tangyuan, also known as yuanxiao, glutinous rice balls packed with sweet or savoury filling.
In the Pingxi district, thousands of lanterns light up the night sky, commemorating the official end of Chinese New Year. Made of oiled rice paper, sheepskin, bamboo filaments, silk, or satin outfitted with a large candle at the bottom, these lanterns are formed out of the hopes and dreams of people as well. People scribble their aspirations onto these lanterns, which they then set free. Their release symbolizes the casting off of the past and the embrace of a bright future. When the lanterns land, it is with the hope that the dreams written on the lanterns will come to fruition, and reach earth. As the lanterns take flight, carrying the hopes and dreams of thousands, they transform the night sky into a vista of unbelievable beauty. The dark austerity of the night is suddenly metamorphosed into a crimson hue, with thousands of little lights floating in the air. The glow of the lanterns illuminate the Taiwanese night, as if the night sky took on thousands of new stars, against the backdrop of tall mountains.
In earlier times, the Lantern Festival was hosted in Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park in Taipei. However, now the event tours around Taiwan. The festival is amazingly colourful and vibrant; elaborate lantern installations, grand fireworks displays and cultural performances. The main attractions at the festival would be the dazzling array of lantern structures put on display. At the festival, there will be a main theme lantern installation,often based on the Chinese zodiac. There will also be smaller side shows of lanterns, often depicting a character of Chinese culture, or explaining a Chinese cultural story. These smaller lanterns are often winners of local competitions, coming from both adult artisans and young students alike and are just as interesting as the main installation.
A visitor will also experience fascinating cultural performances. Lion dancing and dragon dancing along with folk songs and dances will be put on show. There will frequently be clowns and acrobats at work during the festival, aweing the audience with gravity-defying stunts and tricks. A food fair will frequently be set up as well, to support the crowd with local specialties and snacks.
The Taiwan Lantern Festival is a spectacular extravaganza of cultural display, be sure not to miss it out! Taiwan Free and Easy does tailor tours just for you! Don’t miss out on great experiences and give us a call or email.