The 2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival in Chiayi
by Sophia Hsu
The Taiwan Tourism Bureau has held the Taiwan Lantern Festival for several years running to entice visitors around the globe to partake in Taiwan’s Lunar New Year festivities and to raise the international profile of the cultural attractions found all over Taiwan. Traditionally, the festival is celebrated by carrying beautiful lanterns, many made lovingly by hand, out of doors to admire the full moon, which caps the fifteen days of the Lunar New Year festivities. From themed lantern displays to indigenous folk art and performances, the festival has become a favorite of both locals and international visitors.
From March 2 – 11, 2018, the annual Taiwan Lantern Festival is taking to land, sea, and air. Every year, a different county is selected and featured to host the main events closing the Lunar New Year celebrations across the island. Chiayi County will be in the spotlight for 2018 with a ground breaking festival that combines technology with tradition tourism, culture, and art. All of the planned events this year will be considered “smart” events in a similar vain to all of the smart technologies we have today such as smart phones, smart watches, smart televisions, and smart homes, many of the components for which are made in Taiwan.
Chiayi County is located on the southwest coast of Taiwan bordered by Mount Yu to the east, the Taiwan Strait to the west, Tainan City to the south, and Yulin County to the north. Formerly known as Tsu-lo-san in Mandarin, an interpretation of the area’s indigenous name Tirosen, Chiayi is the sixth largest county in Taiwan and is home to the Alishan National Scenic Area, one of Taiwan’s most well-known and beloved tourist attractions. Another famous attraction is the High-Heel Wedding Church, completed in 2016, a memorial to a period of tragedy in the region as well as a celebration to love and joy.
The water-themed portion of the festival will incorporate water and light shows of the highest international standards. These shows will include the best scenic views around Taiwan, such as the globally renowned sea of clouds, sunrises, forest railways, and cherry blossoms of the Alishan National Scenic Area. In addition to these vistas, there will be displays of the water landscape and architecture at the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum, which is also located right in Chiayi County. At scheduled times every evening of the festival period, shows designed to delight audiences will be accompanied by performances by professional dance troupes.
The lanterns in the land-themed zone will dive into Chiayi County’s history. The displays will be highlighting traditional handicrafts of the region and the works of local artisans. Refreshingly modern ideas will be infused into the otherwise traditional lantern displays in an artistic way.
The air-themed lantern zone will show off high-tech lanterns designed and made with the latest in technology, the newest materials, and with advanced techniques. These lanterns will look futuristic. Chiayi County is planning to mount a truly innovative, cutting edge lantern festival. Created with technological, artistic, and cultural elements in mind, each of the displays will be unique and worthy of of discussion on a global level.
To find out more about the annual Taiwan Lantern Festival information. Please go to https://www.taiwan.net.tw/ 2018taiwanlantern/EN/