The 1st of January may be far behind us, but that doesn’t mean New Year celebrations have to end! The Chinese New Year is coming up and on its heels is the Taiwan Lantern Festival which is celebrated on the first full moon of the Chinese New Year. Also known as ‘Yuan Xiao Jie’ this dynamic event will be celebrated between March 2 and March 11 with exciting light displays, lanterns and plenty of firecrackers. A special lantern in the shape of the zodiac of the year lights up the sky; this year it will be the Year of the Dog.
This year is particularly exciting. Not only has Chiayi County been selected to host the occasion, but the event will break new ground by introducing a tech twist to the festivities. The festival will include zones inspired by the elements, each of which thrillingly uses technology to create magnificent displays and experiences.
The Water Zone will meet international standards through their water and light shows. Expect to see the globally famous sea of clouds, sunrise, forest railways and cherry blossoms of Alishan. This zone will also incorporate a water landscape and architecture of the Southern Branch, National Palace Museum located right in Chiayi. Each “smart” event is a thrilling adventure for children and a mesmerizing sight for adults.
The Land Lantern zone treats visitors to an exploration of Chiayi history. Viewers will get acquainted with traditional crafts and the work of local artists. Meanwhile, the Air Lantern zone shows high-tech lanterns that use cutting edge technology and materials.
If you’re planning a more romantic Lunar New Year, head over to PingXi, a small village that celebrates a Sky Lantern Festival where you can watch your fill of dreamy glowing paper lanterns illuminating the universe above. Whether you’re letting go of the past or building the foundation for the future, this romantic site is the place to cement your love with a paper lantern.
Meanwhile, in the south of Taiwan, fireworks take center stage. The “Yanshuei Beehive Fireworks” is the extension of a decades-old story behind them starring the god of war Guan Di who along with General Zhou Cang rid Yanshuei of a Cholera epidemic, riding through the streets in a palanquin. They were followed by faithful citizens who set off fireworks in their wake. The tradition stuck and now fireworks are set off every year as a tribute. Expect a frenzy of lights and sounds as the district is given its annual “baptism with firecrackers”. This is a must-attend event for adventurous travelers, a call to witness the drama and excitement as Yanshuei exorcises their demons and ushers in the New Year.
In Taiwan’s Taitung, visitors are invited to see Master Han Dan, known as the God of Wealth paraded through the streets so that crowds can pray for his blessing and good fortune. They offer f fresh flowers and fruit, and light strings of firecrackers to welcome him. According to legend, people throw firecrackers at Master Han Dan because the lights and noise increase his power. Some believe the crackers give him warmth and he responds with blessings. Whether you throw firecrackers or pray for blessings, the auspicious event surrounds you with laughter, cheer, and goodwill.
Our Top Tips for Celebrating the Lantern Festival in Taiwan:
– For romance and ambiance head to PingXi. This is an especially inviting destination for those with a New Year proposal on their mind. Imagine capturing the moment you propose against the backdrop of a thousand paper lanterns, unforgettable!
– Travelling alone? Take your celebrations to the wild side with the Beehive Fireworks at Yangshuei! This event is full of noise, light and high energy- a perfect environment to create lifelong memories and make friends.
– Entertain the whole family with the Taiwan Lantern Festival 2018 at Chiayi. There’s something here for everyone; from displays to excite the kids to opportunities to bond as a family.
– Get acquainted with all the events and experiences using the Chayi iTour app which offers comprehensive info on Chiayi’s food, shopping, accommodation, transport, etc. During the festival period, the app will also provide useful information such as overall lantern zone intro, sitemap, special lantern zone reports, food recommendations, live streams, LED push notifications, AR experiences, 360-degree previews, traffic updates, parking tips and online shop tours.
Note – This post is paid for by the Taiwan Tourism.