Taiwan Lantern Festival 2008

It’s been a busy month, and I’ve got photos from the Taiwan Lantern Festival – 台灣燈會 2008 in Tainan County (It was held at a place called Solar City in the Southern Taiwan Science Park). I have to say, it was a really cool event. There were so many lanterns and things to do I didn’t even get to see them all in 4 hours it took us get burnt out.

old man smoking a pipesponge bob square pants lantern

Click to see the Taiwan Lantern Festival 台灣燈會 2008 Photos

Here are some video clips of the day:

The first thing we saw was the shop/food stalls. There was quite a variety of things to eat.

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After that, it was off to a circle of displays set up from different religions. Everything from Tibetan (?), Buddhism, Daoism, and Christianity.

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We stayed there for a while before making our way through the lanterns to the Taiwan beer tent. That took about an hour so when we arrived at the beer tent it was dark already. We got some Chinese sausages there (they were terrible and discarded. You’d think a big beer company would make some killer links for their patrons but no, we got the budget half fat – half toxic waste links) to go along with some glasses of draft mango Taiwan Beer. Yeah, it’s true. I’m not sure if it was the ass flavor of the sausages that made the mango beer taste nasty but alas, it too wasn’t a nice surprise. I’ll definitely stick to the gold label or the normal draft Taiwan Beer in the future.

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After that we cruised back and saw more lanterns and lights, as well as a fireworks show. Then they had a huge puppet show (huge meaning the puppets took 3 people each to carry around).

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ICRT radio was there, and the DJ (Joseph Lin) was someone I met on my first day in Taiwan (a long story but I was on the air about 12 hours after arriving in Taiwan).

ICRT Taiwan booth

After that the crowds were just insane and we were at the end of the rope, so we bailed anticipating a monumental traffic jam.

year of the rat

Here is some information about the Taiwan Lantern Festival from the Taiwan Touch Your Heart website:

Lantern Festival, also known as Shang Yuan Festival, takes place on the fifteenth day of the first moon. Last in a series of springtime celebrations, this “second New Year” is widely celebrated by families all around Taiwan.

On the night of the festival, decorative lanterns depicting birds, beasts, historical figures, and any one of a number of different themes are carried by children or adorn temples. To highlight these glowing works of art, competitions are held . The Taipei Lantern Festival, held annually at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Plaza and the largest and most famous of these competitions, is attended every year by thousands of lantern-watchers. The Lantern Festival is further enriched by the customary lantern riddle parties that are held on this night.

The night sky on Lantern Festival is also illuminated by the Tainan Yanshui Fireworks Display and Taipei Pinghsi Sky Lanterns – known together as “Fireworks in the South, Sky Lanterns in the North,” as well as many other regional folk activities.

In addition to displaying and appreciating lanterns, Lantern Festival is also celebrated by eating tang yuan, an important custom symbolizing family unity and indispensable to the day’s festivities.

The varied festivities and customs practiced on Lantern Festival not only provide celebrants with rich entertainment, like the historical-theme lantern displays and riddles, but are also instructive, by their expression of ancient wisdom. The variety of splendid lantern features different folk art techniques, impressing these arts deep in the hearts and minds of the people.

About the Author

I am a cultural geographer by nature, and now a photographer, videographer, musician, and webmaster.

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