Taiwan Lantern Festival
By Ching Yu Lin
The tourism industry always gets a boom this time of year. Families are tired of the freezing cold temperatures and cannot wait to plan their vacations for 2015. With so many amazing places in the world to see, it can be difficult to decide where to take a trip this year. Here at Asian Fusion Magazine, we have the ideal spot for you and those you love most to spend some quality time this year. Why not look into visiting what many call “the heart of Asia”? Taiwan has always been a top travel destination, but this year there is so much more to do and see that you won’t want to miss out! Here is a “don’t miss” event to take part in Taiwan in 2015.
Taiwan Lantern Festival
Every March 5th, Taiwan gets a little brighter. The well-known and well-loved Taiwan Lantern Festival begins and people from all over the world gather to see the illuminating sight of tens of thousands of paper lanterns as they light up the sky in the Pingxi District. Although the lanterns are gorgeous and worth the visit, there are also a large variety of activities that take place during this iconic festival. The Tainan Yanshui Fireworks Display is another important sight to see during the lantern festival. This explosive and exciting event is to symbolize evil being banished from Taiwan. Together with the lanterns, these two events are known as “Fireworks in the South, Sky Lanterns in the North.”
In 1989, the Taiwan Lantern Festival tradition was beginning to fade. Many Taiwanese families were caught up in the 21st century way of life. In order to keep the culture and tradition alive, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau decided to plan a large scale festival to bring Taiwan back to its roots. The hope was to make this a world-wide affair and have families from all over the globe come to Taiwan to help ring in the New Year with beautiful lanterns and exciting fireworks.
Each year, the Taiwan Lantern Festival symbolizes the magnificent finale of the Lunar New Year. Families across Taiwan get ready for their New Year by lighting up intricate lanterns that show pictures of historical figures, birds or the lantern theme of the year. Taiwanese are hoping for a year of prosperity and peace and what better way to start that year than dazzling beacons of light?
This year, the acclaimed festival is held from March 5th-15th and is located in Taichung Park in Taichung City. The Wuri High Speed Rail Special Zone will be the area where all of the stunning lanterns can be seen. This venue is large enough to accommodate a large number of travellers from all over the world. Although the Taiwan Festival has only been going on since 1990, this year marks the 15th Anniversary and is sure to be a magical show. One really cool aspect of this year’s festival is that it is not the first time that Taichung Park has hosted. In fact, in 2003, which was also ironically the Year of the Ram, Taichung Park was lucky enough to host as well. Because of this fact, Taichung Park has kept their fully preserved theme lantern and will be hanging it in tandem with the 2014 lantern. Pretty neat!
Of course, you cannot have a successful festival without having some amazing and delectable culinary treats. The Taiwan Lantern Festival brings renowned chefs out of the wood-work to show off their gastronomic creations. Some of the yummy treats you will see at the Taiwan Lantern Festival include Shaoxing sausage, fruit wines from the Nantou Winery, stewed dishes from Puli, banana egg rolls from JiJi, who are also bringing along their ever popular train-ticket cakes. Some of the top food establishments that will be showcased are Rouzaofu Hawker Fair, Bazhang Beef Noodles, Qiaotubian Meat Ball and the 50-year-old Youde Noodles.
If you are traveling from afar, you may want to bring an extra suitcase as there will be a number of agricultural and gift items featured at the Taiwan Lantern Festival. This area has been blessed with some of the best and high quality cultivation in the world. If you are looking for a unique gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend, the Taiwan Lantern Festival will have plenty to choose from.
Overall, the Taiwan Lantern Festival is second to none and is quite a draw for those looking for a unique vacation this year. You will definitely want to check it out!