Friday, January 20, 2017

Things to Do: Taiwan Lantern Festival, held around Taiwan


Taiwan Lantern Festival  February 11-19, 2017 in Yulin

Since 2001, this festival has been staged in a different city each year (before that it was held in Taipei in and around the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall).  In 2016 it was held in Taoyuan, while in 2017 it will be in Yulin.  It begins on the 15th day after the Chinese New Year.  In the old days in Taiwan, everyone had a lantern in front of their home.  An old legend says that a once upon a time a bird from heaven was accidentally killed by human hunters, so in retaliation angry gods burned down all the houses in the village.  People were frightened.  An elder had the idea of making red lanterns and putting them in front of each house so that from a distance it would look like the houses were on fire and the gods would be fooled.  Apparently it worked and a tradition was born.  Designs are different now and materials include LED lightbulbs in place of candles.  Always featuring colorful lanterns, 2016 highlights included a gigantic 26-meter-tall monkey lantern honoring the Year of the Monkey as well as a spectacular 500-meter-long lantern corridor.  Festivities include live entertainment, hands-on activities, and fireworks.  The traditional festival food is tangyuan--also referred to as yuansiao--which are glutinous rice dumplings with stuffings both sweet and savory that include sesame, peanut, and minced pork.  More than 1 million people attend the two-week program.  “There are lantern festivals all over Asia, but ours is the largest, says Dr. Wayne Liu, Deputy Director General of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau.  “And the festival is free.  We do this festival because we want to make people happy.” 

entrance to lantern corridor at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016
entrance to lantern corridor at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016

kids balloons at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016
kids balloons at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016

under the lantern corridor at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016--day
under the lantern corridor at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016--day

under the lantern corridor at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016--night
under the lantern corridor at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016--night

giant monkey lantern at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016
giant monkey lantern at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016

video



giant dragon lantern at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016
giant dragon lantern at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016

heart lantern at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016
heart lantern at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016


Mollie Blaisdell interviews Dr. Wayne Liu at Taiwan Lantern Festival
Mollie Blaisdell interviews Dr. Wayne Liu at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016

More things to do in Taiwan.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.
   
images and video ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

9 comments:

  1. This looks so festive Carole, I would love to check this out some day, looks beautiful!

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  2. Well, from your photos, I can see this is a big deal in Taiwan. Wow! Those lanterns are huge! #TPThursday

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  3. I used to go to Taiwan a lot, and I always enjoyed their festivals. This sounds like another great one.

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  4. The "Legend of the Red Lanterns" is a great story and the lantern corridor and huge dragon lantern are amazing. This festival would really be something to see at night - Gorgeous and what fun!

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  5. Ah, "We do this festival because we want to make people happy." That's wonderful, and I'd love to plan my next trip to Taiwan around the lantern festival. Taipei and Taiwan are great places to visit–with really tasty cuisine!

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  6. Your photos of the lanterns remind me a lot of the Chinese New Year lanterns which we have in Sydney right now.

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  7. This is so on my must-do and must visit list. I love the story and your photos and video certainly help bring it to life. Thanks!

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    1. It pleases me that you enjoy this post, and I do hope you get to see the festival in person someday!

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  8. So colourful! I've seen lantern festivals elsewhere, but the Taiwan one looks amazing.

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