The National lantern festival is in Zhubei, this year. The lantern festival is a traditional holiday that occurs two weeks after Chinese New Year for more detailed information of the tradition of the Lantern Festival please see Taiwanese Traditions: The Lantern Festival (posted February 9, 2012). There are actually two things of importance that take place on the Lantern Festival day. There is the traditional release of sky lanterns in Pingxi, in Northeastern Taiwan. People write a prayer or a blessing on the outside of the lantern and release it into the sky.
These lanterns usual are a bag with a cross piece on the bottom where a candle is placed. The candle is lit and the air in the bag heated causing it to rise up into the sky. They will continue to rise until the candle goes out and the air is no longer heated. The lanterns are released simultaneously and thousands on lanterns rise into the sky, it’s quite a site and Pingxi is famous all over the world for the lanterns.
But there is the other festival where lanterns are created but not released into the sky. My wife had an opportunity, this year, to take the train with a number of her friends and visit the National Lantern festival in Zhubei, in Northern Taiwan.
Photos: Brenda Banducci