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The Tourism Bureau in Taiwan has been holding the Taiwan Lantern Festival for years to attract visitors and raise the international profile of the cultural attractions of Taiwan. Highlighted as one of the “Fantastic Festivals of the World” by Discovery Channel, the annual 2016 Taiwan Lantern Festival was held from 22 February to 6 March at Taoyuan to celebrate the 15th day of the Chinese New Year.

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I was there to witness the celebration this year and took lots of photos to share. The venue is generally divided into two segments – a main lantern and many smaller lanterns.

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The theme of the main lanterns often corresponds with the zodiac signs of Chinese astrology. All of them are over ten meters 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. This year, it is a giant monkey made with over 20,000 LED lights:

The smaller lanterns, show images of historical figures, birds, or images from that year’s theme. I saw a lot of modern character lanterns this year too:

Cartoon monkey

Cartoon monkey

Minion

Minion

That snowman from Disney's Frozen

That snowman from Disney’s Frozen

More minions

More minions

Monkey on a plane

Monkey on a plane

More characters

More characters

Sun Wukong

Sun Wukong or Ironman?

Dolphin

Dolphin

Posing for a photo with oyster babies

Posing for a photo with oyster babies

Hokkaido lanterns

Hokkaido lanterns

Traditionally, the festival has been celebrated by carrying hand lanterns. The Taiwan Lantern Festival adds a high-tech touch to this traditional custom and brings the event to the international stage. From the theme lantern displays to folk arts and performances, the festival has become a favourite of both locals and foreign visitors.

Giant cross... kind of weird

Giant cross… kind of weird

Family lanterns

Family lanterns

A temple arch

A temple arch

Ocean-themed

Ocean-themed

Music-themed

Music-themed

Characters

Characters

From the Three Kingdom Chinese classic

From the Three Kingdom Chinese classic

Chinese landscaping

Chinese landscaping

Feudal China

Feudal China

Tree lanterns

Tree lanterns

Birds lantern

Birds lantern

Themed attraction which visitors can go inside

Themed attraction which visitors can go inside

If you are planning for a trip to Taiwan next year, do plan it to coincide with the 2017 Taiwan Lantern Festival so you can soak in the celebratory atmosphere with the locals!

The Opening Night of the 2016 Taiwan Lantern Festival was packed with enthusiastic visitors, braving the rain and fog. All were on their way to witness the lighting of the spectacular Sun Wu Kong (Monkey God) lantern statue, welcoming the Year of the Monkey.

The giant monkey before it was lighted

The giant monkey before it was lighted

Lighting up the monkey and releasing fireworks

Lighting up the monkey and releasing fireworks

Glowing laser show

Glowing laser show

There were many other performances put up by students and different government and cultural bodies, including foreign performers from countries like Japan who flown in specially to participate in the festival:

Performers from Japan

Performers from Japan

Taiwanese students performing

Taiwanese students performing

Cheerleaders

Cheerleaders

Mascots parade

Mascots parade

Dancing mascots of Taiwan

Dancing mascots of Taiwan

This bear and the cute lady gets all the attention

This bear and the cute lady gets all the attention

There is also a thriving street food corner for visitors to savour in the delights of popular Taiwanese street food and snacks:

Grilled stinky beancurds

Grilled stinky beancurds

To me, the Taiwan Lantern Festival felt like a Taiwanese version of the annual River Hongbao (春到河畔) festival in Singapore. Basically, fun for the whole family and everyone of all ages.

More details about the Taiwan Lantern Festival is available via the official website. Do visit it at least once to join the locals in their celebration, getting to know more about the cultures and customs in Taiwan along the way. 🙂