The bright and beautiful Taiwan Lantern Festival!

The most celebrated festival of Taiwan –Lantern Festival will be held from 11 February to 19 February in 2017. Like Indians, the Taiwanese also celebrate festivals with fervor and festivities and it’s the best time for family and friends to get together and celebrate!

The festival is held across Taiwan in different cities every year like Taipei, Kaohsiung, Pingxi and Yenshui. The Taipei Lantern Festival is held for several days at the Taipei Expo Park, reaching its peak on the day of the Lantern Festival itself. There are many traditional lanterns, electromechanical lantern displays, and large themed lanterns sponsored and designed by different companies.

The Kaohsiung Lantern Festival is held along the Love River. During the festival period, both sides of the river as well as Wufu Rd., Heping Rd., Guangzhou St., and other thoroughfares have lantern exhibitions. There are also musical performances, helping to throw the whole city into a festive mood.

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is one of the most colorful activities of the Lantern Festival. Pingxi is a remote hillside town. In the past, those who worked or farmed in the mountains faced the risk of being robbed or killed, and they used lanterns to inform their families they were safe. The lanterns do not function as signals anymore, but are now used as symbols of peace and good fortune.

Origin of Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival is an ancient Chinese tradition that dates back more than 2,000-years. The origin of the festival lies in the festive activities of an agricultural people celebrating the lengthening of daylight hours and the coming of spring after the New Year. The festival was actually started by an emperor of the Han dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.), who was a devout Buddhist and who ordered his people to display lights on the fifteenth night of the first month of the lunar year to pay respects to Buddha. Holding torches or lanterns on this night makes it easier to see deities descending from heaven to give blessings to the earth.

During the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD), the emperors would celebrate the festival by ordering hundreds of beautiful women to sing and dance with lanterns in the brightly lit plaza. These festive activities gradually spread to the common people and developed into the most popular festival in the year after Chinese New Year. The festival is also called the Little New Year.

In 1990, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau held the first Taipei Lantern Festival. Every year a gigantic lantern is installed in the middle of the plaza of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The lantern installation is followed by performances like laser lights, music and sculptural arts. On the four sides of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, smaller lantern installations depict folklore and historical events. You can also find interesting live folk performances such as lion and dragon dances, acrobatic acts, folk art skits, mock battles, and booths that demonstrate and sell traditional handicrafts such as fan painting, lantern making, dough sculpture, candy-figure blowing, paper cutting, Chinese knot work, and many delicious snacks and sweets. During the festival period, a tunnel of lights is put up on the roads of Taipei, dressing up the whole city with glittering lights.

Several media outlets and travel lists have recommended the Taiwan Lantern Festival as one of the best holiday celebration events. It has emerged as an international event, attracting tens and thousands of visitors from all over the world.

Visit Taiwan during the Lantern Festival for a celebration like no other! The Taiwan Tourism Bureau is encouraging visitors to attend the 2017 Taiwan Lantern Festival (February 11-19, 2017) in Yunlin and Lantern Festival activities in other cities and counties.

For Group Visitors

  • Special Offers: All visitors who purchase a full-package product that includes a Lantern Festival event in Taiwan from an overseas travel agent (not including visitors who buy just flight and hotel accommodation) will be given a 2017 Year of the Rooster small handheld lantern; if the itinerary includes attending the 2017 Lantern Festival in Yunlin, a limited edition local Yunlin gift and viewing-stand ticket will also be given (the viewing-stand ticket cannot be used during the opening and closing ceremonies). Each person may receive only one of each gift, available only while stocks last.
  • Collection Method: The local Taiwanese travel agent entrusted by a foreign travel agent shall apply to the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, MOTC, by e-mail (twtourismbureau@gmail.com) or fax (02-2771-7036). After approval, notification to collect the gifts will be given.

For Independent Visitors

  • Special Offers: International independent travelers who attend the 2017 Lantern Festival will be given a 2017 Year of the Chicken small handheld lantern, a limited edition local gift from Yunlin and a viewing-stand ticket (viewing-stand tickets cannot be used during the opening and closing ceremonies). Each person may receive only one of each gift, available while stocks last.
  • Collection Method: Visit the organizer’s No. 1 service counter at the 2017 Taiwan Lantern Festival in Yunlin venue between 16:00 and 21:00, February 11-19, 2017 and show passport or entry document to collect the gifts.

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