“The night of the first full moon of the lunar year is when the people of Taiwan, both young and old, venture out to celebrate the world-renowned Lantern Festival. Featuring everything from handheld children’s lanterns to huge floats bedecked in paper lights, this festival is one of the most popular events in the Taiwanese calendar, and it’s easy to see why.
The Lantern Festival in Taiwan is now a major tourist attraction thanks to the Taiwanese Tourism Bureau. Each year they organize a variety of events with many local companies sponsoring high-tech lanterns that are a far cry from the children’s lanterns of bygone days. But there’s more to this festival of light than floats with lasers on the streets of Taipei and Kaohsiung.
How it all Began
In 1990 the Tourism Bureau devised a plan to hold an event that would help celebrate local folklore. They decided to hold a major lantern festival to coincide with age-old customs such as the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival and the Yanshui Fireworks Festival.
The Original Traditions
The lunar calendar is extremely important in Taiwan so it should come as no surprise that the first full moon of the year is considered an auspicious time of the year. There are many traditions surrounding this special night but here are the most famous.
The small hillside town of Pingxi, is home to a breathtaking tradition that has made it a hugely popular tourist destination. Around the time of the first full moon sky lanterns are released to the heavens. These were once used as signals for villagers to let their families know they were safe and sound but now carry people’s wishes and hopes for the new year into the night sky.”