Taiwan Lantern Festival

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Lantern Festival at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall in 2004

The Taiwan Lantern Festival (Chinese: 臺灣燈會; pinyin: Táiwān dēnghuì) is an annual event hosted by the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Taiwan to celebrate the Lantern Festival.

Many activities are held across Taiwan during the Lantern Festival; thousands of sky lanterns are lit over Pingxi District (平溪). In Yanshuei District, the firecrackers ceremony of the Wumiao Temple is also one of the important activities.[citation needed] The notoriously dangerous Tainan Yanshuei Fireworks Display, also known as the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival, ("beehive of fireworks") was originally celebrated to ward off evil and disease from the town. The Taipei Pingxi Sky Lanterns were released originally to let others know that the town was safe. These lanterns are decorated with wishes and images relating to the owner. These two events are known together as "Fireworks in the South, Sky Lanterns in the North."


Starting from 1990, the Tourism Bureau integrated civilian and local governmental resources to conduct the event to celebrate the Lantern Festival (15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar) and the end of the lunar new year. The purpose of the festival is to spread the traditional folklore. It is also known as the Yuan Xiao Festival.

The firecrackers ceremony of the Wumiao temple in Yanshuei District was held by ancient people, to show respect for the exploits of Guan Yu. Fengpao is the ceremony to launch thousands of soaring firecrackers, hung on a wooden stand 5–25 metres high. This ceremony starts from six o'clock in the afternoon until five o'clock in the morning. Thousands of people and visitors attend the ceremony.[citation needed]

The festival is the most important annual lantern festival in Taiwan. Prior to 2001, the event was held at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park in Taipei. Since 2001, the event has toured Taiwan.

Time and locations[edit]

Festival meaning[edit]

Taiwanese people write their wishes on the lanterns with a belief to bring an abundant crop. Women wish for a new son to earn more hands to work. These lanterns fly to the sky, bring their wishes to the gods, and alternatively speak all dreams for them that being blessed with luck and good things.

Potential environmental harm[edit]

Though they may be beautiful, even biodegradable lanterns can be incredibly harmful to both the environment and wildlife. Sky lantern litter takes a considerable time to decompose, and the wire frames have been known to strangle and maim wild animals and livestock. They also pose a significant fire hazard.

Main lantern[edit]

The theme of the main lanterns often corresponds with the zodiac signs of Chinese astrology. All of them are over 10 metres tall. Since 1999, every main lantern has its own theme music which is about 3 minutes in length and plays the rhythm when making performances during Taiwan Lantern Festival.


External links[edit]

The lanterns depict images such as historical figures, birds, or of the theme determined each year.