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