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|
|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--night|
|giant monkey lantern at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016|
|giant dragon lantern at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016|
|heart lantern at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016|
|Mollie Blaisdell interviews Dr. Wayne Liu at Taiwan Lantern Festival 2016|
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images and video ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers