Celebrating the “2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival”
Taiwan Lantern Festival each year uses the animal sign on the Chinese zodiac as the theme of the main lantern. It also pays attention to traditional customs in determining the location, construction and placement rituals
A world-class event where traditional folklore and cool technology are woven together
29th Taiwan Lantern Festival was officially opened on 2 March, with the lighting of the lanterns in the Main Lantern area. The exhibition scale for this year’s festival reaches 50 hectares, making it the biggest lantern festival ever held in Taiwan.
The exhibitions, from 2-11 March will feature the main lantern, which depicts an indigenous child with a Taiwanese dog, portraying the theme of Loyal Auspiciousness. Besides this main attraction, the innovative designs area will showcase various exquisite traditional lanterns that embody traditional customs and auspicious themes; these are sure to dazzle people. For the first time, full-field spotlights will be used to shine the latitude and longitude beams in the sky and present the Tropic of Cancer going through the mountains, sea and plains of Chiayi County.
Design incorporate folk culture and will give people a brand new sensory experience. International tourists who visit the “2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival” and present their passport or relevant entry certificate from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 3-10 at the No. 1 Service Desk can receive a 2018 Year of the Dog DIY paper lantern, a limited edition gift and a voucher (valid from March 3-10), which they can use to access the Main Lantern Area to watch the light show. Items are limited to one per person, while supplies last. On the 15th day of the first lunar month, the Lantern Festival, also known as the Little New Year, celebrates an important traditional folk activity for the Lunar New Year. Traditionally, residents celebrated by setting off firecrackers, displaying hand-held lanterns, and going to temples to look at beautiful lanterns. Amid the fun atmosphere, it’s also a time to wish for peace and prosperity for the country and people. Every year, during the Lantern Festival, throughout Taiwan, large and small scale celebrations are held.
The biggest difference between the Taiwan Lantern Festival and the lantern festivals held in various counties and cities in Taiwan is that it integrates tradition and modernity. Based on traditional culture, the Taiwan Lantern Festival each year uses the animal sign on the Chinese zodiac as the theme of the main lantern. It also pays attention to traditional customs in determining the location, construction and placement rituals. The Main Lantern’s base is designed based on the Chinese Eight Trigrams, which symbolizes Taiwan’s traditional philosophy and culture.
The Main Lantern lighting ceremony time is selected based on what is considered an auspicious moment. It also involves the traditional blowing of the whistle. (When the President lights the lantern, a team of people blow whistles 9 times, when the Premier lights the lantern, the whistles are blown 8 times and when the Minister of Transportation and Communications lights the lantern, the whistle is blown 7 times). In addition to that, drumming, and hitting the gongs precede the lighting of Main Lantern. And with traditional etiquette, and folk tales as the theme, we cleverly combine lanterns with scenario-based technology to create an ambilight-like scenery. To bring refreshing results to the public, a number of initiatives have also been planned for the “2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival,” including the center of attention, the Main Lantern “Loyal Auspiciousness ” which for the first time will depict not only the zodiac animal of the year but also include a Taiwan indigenous child waving, so that spectators can feel as if the child is greeting them and sending them good wishes with a smile.
With the vigorous development of mobile payments and the introduction of cashless bazaars, the public also can experience the convenience and friendliness brought by science and technology. With influence from the collections of the National Palace Museum, this year we have also created a large reception gate called the “Tree of Life” to convey the richness and prosperity of life through lights and shadows. In order to showcase Taiwan’s intention to promote the protection of the bay resources, the “Bayside Tourism Lantern Area” has also been established to demonstrate the unique vitality of Taiwan being surrounded by the sea.
A National Palace Museum water lantern area has also been laid out, and set up a Lantern Festival environmental navigation area, an environmental live broadcast and digital carved water curtain projection. In addition, in order to provide excellent service to tourists, free Wi-Fi service has been provided as in previous years and an APP integrating marketing and smart phone navigation technology to allow tourists to fully grasp all that is on offer at the festival, from what’s delicious to eat to what’s fun to see. This is aimed at helping visitors enjoy the festival even more than ever!
Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ Tourism Bureau’s Director General Joe Y. Chou said: In order to promote Taiwan’s unique traditional folk festivals, the Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, has been handling the Taiwan Lantern Festival since 1990. Combining with relevant talents and concepts in “art curating, installation art, architectural landscape and city marketing,” the Bureau hopes to not only present the exquisite traditional Lantern Festival, it also wants to use artistic methods to showcase Taiwan’s characteristics. Through years of constant innovation, the Taiwan Lantern Festival has become one of Taiwan’s premier folk festivals. It has been selected as one of the “World’s Best Festivals” by Discovery and praised by international media as a Disneyland without a roller coaster!
Through the holding of the Lantern Festival, the development of various types of Lantern Festival celebrations in Taiwan will be further promoted and world-class lantern designing and making technology will be cultivated. Chiayi County sits in front of a mountain range and faces the sea. It is the only county in Taiwan that spans Alishan, Siraya and Yun-Chia-Nan, three major national scenic areas.
In addition to enjoying the sunrise and sea of clouds on Alishan, visitors can also visit the villages of the Zhou indigenous tribe on the mountain, as well as the eco-rich Aogu Wetland, Ruili Scenic Area’s Yanziya, the Dongshi Fisherman’s Wharf’s famous White Sand Beach and eat delicious seafood, Fengtian Temple, which is dedicated to the worshipping of the Goddess Mazu in Xingang, and Bantou village cochin pottery village. Visitors also shouldn’t miss delicious local food such as Minxiong goose, Budai seafood, Dongshi oysters, Xingang peanut candy, and duck soup. During this year’s festival, traveling to various tourist spots in Chiayi County during the day and enjoying the Taiwan Lantern Festival in the evening will surely be the best way to celebrate the festival. (For more information, please refer to “2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival” official website: https://www.taiwan.net.tw / 2018taiwanlantern. In order to promote Taiwan’s unique activities, the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has been highlighting the special festivals of Taiwan in the past few years. In addition to the continuous integration and marketing of the Taiwan Lantern Festival, and other Lantern Festival events, such as the Taipei Lantern Festival, the Kaohsiung Lantern Festival Art Festival, the New Taipei City Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, Miaoli Fire Side Dragon Festival, Tainan Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival, and Taitung Bombing of Master Han Dan Festival, since 2013 has been promoting the “Taiwan Tourism Calendar” program, which integrates information on various large-scale special events in Taiwan, including the upcoming annual meeting of the world’s most beautiful bays in Taiwan (Penghu), the Taichung World Flora Exhibition (Taichung City), the 9th Asian Birdwatching Exposition (Chiayi County) and other international conferences and activities. Visitors from home and abroad are welcome to visit the unique and magnificent sightseeing activities of Taiwan’s folk festivals. For more information, check the “Taiwan Tourism Calendar’s” official website: https://www.eventaiwan.tw/tw/i
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