The Taiwan Lantern Festival is a festival takes place annually and hosted by the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Taiwan. The festival is celebrated on the night of the first full moon of the lunar year.
First held in Taipei’s Chiang Kai-shek hall in 1990. It gained much popularity and since 2001 has been celebrated in different cities across Taiwan.
How TAIWAN LANTERN FESTIVAL began
The history of the lantern festival goes back centuries, to the Qing dynasty. During the rule of this dynasty, remote villages and areas were very difficult to control and protect. The villagers would hide in the mountains after the winter solstice after the final harvest was complete. This is to protect themselves from thieves and bandits. After the passing of the winter, the people who have stayed behind in the village would light lanterns as a sign of safety. This practice evolved into the festival that it is today.
In the 1980s the festival was losing its popularity. Thus, the tourism bureau decided to gather all the light displays in one sport to create awareness about the festival. This lantern festival was then has conceptualized in a manner that would coincide with the age-old customs such as the Pingxi Sky lantern festival and the Yanshuei fireworks festival. Moreover, the festival now boasts, apart from plain lanterns, parade floats with eccentric themes ranging from farm scenes to panda weddings.
This festival is the most important lantern festival in Taiwan.
What Happens at the TAIWAN LANTERN FESTIVAL?
Pingxi Sky Lanterns
The small hillside town of Pingxi is the home of this age-old tradition. Taiwanese people write their wishes and hopes on the sky lanterns which gets releases into the sky. In the early 19th century these wishes would be along the lines of hopes for a bountiful harvest or prayers for a son.
The main lantern
The theme of the main lantern corresponds with the zodiac sign of the year which is based on Chinese astrology. All of the main lanterns, over the years, have been more than ten meters tall.
Apart from the huge lantern, other, much smaller lanterns are present as a part of the celebrations. These other lantern areas include areas depicting famous landmarks in Taichung; cultural creative lanterns, traditional lantern areas, and also lantern competition areas; where creations from schools, colleges, and the various government agencies are displayed.
The Yansheui Fireworks Festival
This festival has considered one of the more dangerous fireworks festivals in the world, courtesy CNN. The festival follows the age-old tradition of the Tainan Yansheui fireworks display which was originally celebrated to ward off evil and disease from the town. Each year men and women decked in helmets and thick clothing stand between several beehive structures has loaded with fireworks which are then set off. Moreover, this celebration has considered as a means of thanking a god named Guan gong who has considered to have rescued the area from the plague in the 19th century.
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