The land of Taiwan seems to light upon the night when the full moon of the current lunar year arises for the first time. It is when the world-famous Pingxi Lantern Festival is held, where you would be able to see massive floating paper lights and the sea of handheld lanterns. Here are things you need to know about one of the most popular Taiwanese events.
What to Know Before Joining to Celebrate Pingxi Lantern Festival
Taiwan Lanterns festival, which is celebrated annually, is one of the biggest tourist attractions there. Conducted by the Taiwanese Tourism Bureau, an array of events are organized each year where plenty of domestic companies being the sponsors. Read how the event began to how you can join the celebration in the following.
A brief history behind the festival
It was the 90s era, and the Tourism Bureau of Taiwan developed a plan to conduct a celebrating event that can promote local folklore. A large-scaled lantern festival was determined to be held, which also accorded to the ancient customs, such as Yanshui Firework Festival and Pingxi Lantern Festival.
Initially, the festival set in National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Liberty Square, Taipei. However, it currently takes place in various locations throughout the country every year.
Pingxi Lantern Festival is conducted on 15th day of the first month of lunar year to wrap up the celebrations of Chinese New Year. The day where first moon of the lunar year appears also represents the arrival of the spring.
Things to do during the celebration
Pingxi Lantern Festival is celebrated by people by different activities, such as eating Yuanxiao (fun fact: the celebration is called Yuanxiao Jie in traditional Chinese), enjoying dinner with gathering family members, holding paper lanterns, and deciphering fun riddles on the lanterns. Once upon a time, lanterns are used by villagers to signals their families about their safety.
Usually, locals also note down their wishes of successful harvests and put them inside the lanterns or for a new son who can lean hands to works for women. This is performed with a belief that lanterns that soar to the sky can deliver their prayers to Gods and funnel their hopes to be blessed with good things, including luck.
The main lanterns, which stand more than ten meters tall, are typically created with a suitable theme to the Chinese zodiac signs. Each of these lanterns has been assigned with their unique theme music that lasts for around 3 minutes – a tradition that was born in 1999.
Simultaneously celebrated events
Ping Xi is actually only a part of bigger fanfare celebration events in Taiwan, but it is indeed the most famous amongst the others. It attracts international tourists because it acquires global popularity.
Another celebrated event, which is labeled by CNN as one of the most dangerous festivals of firework across the world, is the Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival. Held annually in Tainan, this occasion involves people in thick clothing and helmets who stand between firework-loaded beehives that are going to be set off.
According to the traditional beliefs, there was a plague that spread during the 19th century and the town was saved by a god called Guan Gong. This event is held to send gratitude to him.
The next special ceremony carried out at the same time as the Pingxi Lantern Festival is the Bombing Lord Handan. It involves a performing man as the god of wealth, Master Han Dan, who gets tossed with firecrackers. The man in role looms on a sedan chair that’s carried by four people, only wears a pair of short pants in red color, and grasps a bamboo fan to shield his face.
The reason why Master Han Dan is being hurled with firecrackers is that he’s believed to not be able to stand the cold weather, so they are flung to make him feel warm and wish him prosperity and wealth.
How to visit there
Ping Xi Taiwan festival takes place in the district of Pingxi, which is located in New Taipei City. However, it is often confused with a same-name town within the district which often creates confusion amongst non-local visitors. The lantern festival is conducted in the Pingxi, Shifen, and Jingtong.
Despite the identical name between the district and the town, the largest Pingxi Lantern Festival lantern releasing event is not conducted in Pingxi. It is actually held in Shifen, where the Shifen Sky Lantern Square is set on the main stage established at the parking area. The location is about 15 minutes walk from Shifen Station and very near to the Shifen waterfall.
Here’s a tip on visiting and joining the Taiwanese lantern festival: arrive early so you don’t miss any part of it. The Pingxi Lantern Festival doesn’t cost anything to enter – you can even get a lantern as well. If you’re ready to join the massively celebrated event, you can begin to book your flight ticket or make a hotel room reservation online on Airpaz.com or Airpaz mobile app now.