Illuminating the dark inked sky, thousands of small dazzling frames glide towards heaven, resembling stars. Reflecting their bright shine on those who torch them and taking the mankind’s darkness with them, the dazzling lanterns are the essence of the Taiwan lantern festival, the most celebrated festival of Taiwan.
The festival with gloomy nights, will commence on 11 February and will see its conclusion on 19 February in 2017. Like Indians, the Taiwanese also celebrate festivals with passion and enthusiasm and it’s the best time for family and friends to get together and celebrate.
The festival is held across Taiwan in different cities every year like Taipei, Kaohsiung, Pingxi and Yenshui and each place has added its own twist to the celebration.
The Taipei Lantern Festival is held for several days at the Taipei Expo Park, reaching its peak on the day of the Lantern Festival itself. There are many traditional lanterns, electro-mechanical lantern displays, and large themed lanterns sponsored and designed by different companies.
The Kaohsiung Lantern Festival is held along the Love River. During the festival period, both sides of the river as well as Wufu Rd., Heping Rd., Guangzhou St., and other thoroughfares have lantern exhibitions. There are also musical performances, helping to throw the whole city into a festive mood.
The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is one of the most colorful activities of the Lantern Festival. Pingxi is a remote hillside town. In the past, those who worked or farmed in the mountains faced the risk of being robbed or killed, and they used lanterns to inform their families they were safe. The lanterns do not function as signals anymore, but are now used as symbols of peace and good fortune.
In 1990, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau held the first Taipei Lantern Festival. One can find interesting live folk performances such as lion and dragon dances, acrobatic acts, folk art skits, mock battles, laser lights and music performances and sculptural arts and booths that demonstrate and sell traditional handicrafts such as fan painting, lantern making, dough sculpture, candy-figure blowing, paper cutting, Chinese knot work, and many delicious snacks and sweets.
Lantern Festival , an ancient Chinese tradition, dates back to more than 2,000-years ago. The festival, actually started by an emperor of the Han dynasty(206 B.C. – 220 A.D.), who ordered his people to display lights on the fifteenth night of the first month of the lunar year to pay respects to Buddha.
During the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD), the emperors would celebrate the festival by ordering hundreds of beautiful women to sing and dance with lanterns in the brightly lit plaza. These festive activities gradually spread to the common people and developed into the most popular festival in the year after Chinese New Year. The festival is also called the Little New Year.
Attracting tens and thousands of visitors from all over the world, it has emerged as an international event and as one of the best holiday celebration occasion.