The Lantern Festival is celebrated annually on the 15th day of the first lunar month to mark the grand finale of the Chinese New Year celebrations. It is also the very first full moon day of the New Year, symbolizing the coming of the spring.
People usually celebrate this festival by enjoying family dinner together, eating Yuanxiao (glutinous rice dumpling), carrying paper lanterns, and solving the riddles on the lanterns. The festival is celebrated with fanfare events in Taiwan,
including the internationally famed Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in New Taipei City, Bombing Lord Han Dan in Taitung, and Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival in Tainan, to welcome the New Year in a spirit of peace, prosperity and joy.
Bombing Lord Han Dan is a special ceremony in Taitung, which a chosen man performs in the role of Master Han Dan-a god of wealth, and gets thrown by firecrackers. During the event, the chosen man wears nothing but a pair of red short pants,
holds one bamboo fan to protect his face, stands on a sedan chair, and being carried around by four devotees. Firecrackers are to be thrown at the chosen one as it is believed that Lord Han Dan cannot bear the cold weather. The firecrackers
are to keep him warm as well as to pray for wealth and prosperities.
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is held every year during the Lantern Festival in Pingxi of New Taipei City. Sky Lanterns, also known as Kongming Lantern are flying paper lanterns traditionally found in some Asian cultures. It was invented by Kongming during three kingdoms period by Zhu Ke-Liang (aka Kongming) in order to pass military information. They are constructed from oiled rice paper on a bamboo made frame, and contain a small candle or fuel cell composed of a waxy flammable material. After lit, the flame heats the air inside the lantern, same concept of a hot air balloon which raises the lantern into the sky. People nowadays usually write their wishes on the sky lanterns because it is believed as the lantern fly into the sky; it is a way to pass on your wishes to gods above.
Yanshui Beehive Rocket Festival is a distinctive religious event scheduled on the day of the Lantern Festival in Yanshui, Tainan. On the day of the Lantern Festival, people would visit Yanshui in Tainan City to follow the sedan chair of the divinity and the release of thousands of firecrackers. Participants are required to wear a helmet, mask, towel, as well as dressed in long pants and long sleeves shirt for safety.
Other than the three major Lantern Festival celebrations of Taiwan listed above, the annual Taiwan Lantern Festival takes place at different Taiwan City every year. The splendid Taiwan Lantern Festival is filled with thousands traditional, cartoon and thematically designed lanterns of various shapes, sizes, and colors. The theme of Taiwan Lantern Festival varies each year according to the Chinese zodiac sign of 12 animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep (or goat), monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.)
2019 Taiwan Lantern Festival in Pingtung
Place: Pingtung, Donggang, Dapeng Bay
It’s the first time for Taiwan Lantern Festival to take place near the sea. To feature Pingtung, artist use Tuna shape main lantern in place of Chinese animal sign.
2019 Taipei Lantern Festival
Place: Red House Ximending, Zhonghua Rd., Zhongxiao W. Rd., Taipei Main Station
Taipei Lantern Festival, Kaohsiung Lantern Festival and Taiwan Lantern Festival are the three major celebration events in Taiwan. Visiting the Lantern Festival has become a regular routine during this time of the year. With different themed lanterns and lighting effects, it’s a great way to experience the holiday spirit. This year, Taipei Lantern Festival is held in the area from Red House Ximending to Taipei Main Station. Visitors can enjoy the rich local culture of the historical sites.
2019 New Taipei Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Place: Pingxi District, New Taipei
The annual celebration of the Lantern Festival releases the flying lanterns to attract many tourists every February. This event has becoming a worldwide renowned event, even been named one of the best winter trips this year by National Geographic Travel, it is a worth visit Taiwan event. Sky Lanterns, also known as Kongming Lantern is believed as a way to pass on wishes to gods above. Visitors can write their wishes on a sky lantern and release it to the sky in various places in town. Thousands of people travel here to see the superb scene of innumerable sky lanterns rising into the sky. During each night of the festival, thousands of sky lanterns illuminate the night skies of northern Taiwan is truly an amazing sight.
2019 Taoyuan Lantern Festival
Place: Taoyuan City
There will be 4 lantern districts, each presenting different themes with pigs. There will also be scheduled water laser light shows in the Taoyuan lantern district.
2019 Hsinchu Lantern Festival
Place: Hsinchu East Gate
This year, the theme focuses on communication and discovering happiness. And the festival invited artists from around Taiwan and abroad to join this light exhibition. A diversity of lantern design of history, art and culture, it definitely will be another treat for the visitors.
2019 Miaoli Bombing the Dancing Dragon
Place: Miaoli Yuqing Temple, Jingguo Road Riverside Park, Wenchang Temple
The Bombing the Dancing Dragon is originally celebrated by the Hakka people, which is a historic tradition to suppress the evil and bring in the good. Nowadays, this event is to welcome the spring and receive good luck, as well as to relive tradition and pass down the Hakka culture. On the day of Lantern Festival, the 15th day of January according to Lunar Calendar, several people move the dragon up and down and side-to-side, and spectators will throw fireworks and firecrackers at the dancing dragon to pray for fortune and to ask for blessings.
2019 Tainan Yanshui Beehive Firecrackers Festival
Place: Wu Temple
Tainan Yanshui Beehive Firecrackers plays an important role in the festivities of Lantern Festival in southern Taiwan. The name “Beehive” is referred to the bottle rockets launches from a central beehive shaped wooden castles into the crowds, instead of skyward. In the late 1800, a deadly cholera and plague gradually deprived more and more live when the ceremony was arranged the first time to call for help from the Guanyu divinity. Nowadays, the annual Yanshui Beehive Festival becomes a local custom to hoping the diseases can be sent away and to expressing the appreciation to the Guanyu for saving many lives and bringing the peace back to the town. It is truly a thrilling way to bring an end to the New Year’s celebrations.
2019 Tainan Yue Jin Lantern Festival
Place: Yue Jin Harbor (Qiaonan St., Yanshui Dist., Tainan)
Yue Jin Lantern Festival is first held in 2010. Combining traditional lantern celebration with art, the festival is full of creativity and local characteristics. Yue Jin Lantern Festival has become one of the Lantern Festival celebrations one would not want to miss these days.
2019 Kaohsiung Lantern Festival
Place: East and west banks of Love River, Cishan, Gangshan, Fo Guang Shan Monastery
Kaohsiung Lantern Festival is held at the surrounding areas of Love River, which is celebrated the major festival with colorful lanterns of all sizes and shapes. The event has grown popular over the year, thus the event has grown into larger scale. Kaohsiung Lantern Festival is the third biggest lantern carnival in Taiwan as an expression of the theme of love and happiness. The festival as well integrates the special characteristics of Kaohsiung culture and art which brings the image of Kaohsiung and offers everyone a unique experience of Chinese New Year in the harbor city of Kaohsiung.
2019 Taitung Bombarding Master Han Dan
Place: Citizen Plaza, Harbor Park, Taitung City
The Lantern Festival in Taitung City has over 60 years of history, held annually by Matsu Temple and Haishan Temple. The most popular local activity in Taitung during this period is the Bombarding of Master Handan. In Taiwan folklore the Mater Han Dan is regarded as a god of wealth who is known of being afraid of the cold, so bombarding fireworks is to keep him warm and in the hope of obtaining his blessing for prosperous the coming year will be. A chosen man will perform in the role of the Master Han Dan who will wear nothing except a pair of red short pants, and hold a bamboo fan to protect his face while standing on a sedan chair, carried around in designated route by four devotees.
Place: Hualien Sixth Urban District, Hualien Carp Lake (Liyutan)
Hualien Pacific Lantern Festival this year present the unique Light and Water Show, Light Show and 3D Red-faced Rubber Duck Water Light Show with 2 main lanterns representing the water and the land. Combining the local culture, Hualien Government is presenting the most traditional lantern of all. The New Year Shopping Street will be open as well for your convenience.