By ROY NARRA
March 22, 2019
TAIWAN: When it comes to colorful lantern festivals and majestic fireworks displays, Taiwan instantly comes to mind.
And while these celebrations have ended with the Lunar New Year in February, this list will come in handy for vacationers who want to plan early and partake in the revelry next time around.
Taiwan Lantern Festival
People of all ages were dazzled by creative lantern art pieces at the 30th Taiwan Lantern Festival held from February 19 to March 3 at Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area in Pingtung County, located almost 380 kilometers south of Taipei.
The 43-acre port was filled with a total of 784 lanterns made by locals from 33 townships. With 184 themes, the lanterns extended messages of environmental protection, pop culture, history, ecotourism immigrants and even aborigines in Taiwan.
The 30th Taiwan Lantern Festival established a lot of first times — the first time in Pingtung County, the first time the festival was held near the ocean, and the first time the main lantern was not patterned after the current Zodiac sign.
Pingtung County unveiled their main lantern, a giant bluefin tuna, with extravagant water and pyromusical display and a drone light show by multinational corporation Intel.
The giant Bluefin tuna symbolizes not only the town’s lively fishery industry but also Pingtung Country’s rich and beautiful history.
The drone light show, which drew amazement from the crowd, was said to be the alternative to sky lanterns after considering the environmental factors of the festival, particularly its location at the Dapeng Bay.
Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival
While the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival in Tainan, Southern Taiwan is considered by the Taiwanese as one of the most significant religious activity in the country, it also serves as the perfect place for thrill-seeking foreigners who want to experience fireworks closer.
The festival is dubbed by some as the “most dangerous fireworks festival in the world” because of its war-like setting where fireworks are shot directly to the people while following a holy sedan char parading in the streets of Yanshui.
People who are participating in this activity are only protected with a low-budget protection suit consisting of full-face helmet, cotton face masks, cotton towel, cotton jacket, cotton gloves, and sports shoes. Despite its raggedy suit, residents of Yanshui District assured its safety as it has been around for years.
Yanshui locals believe that being hit by fireworks is an effective way of removing bad luck for the rest of the year.
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
For those who feel the Taiwan Lantern Festival is “overwhelming” and the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival is “dangerous,” going to the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in the quiet rural district of Pingxi in New Taipei is another option.
A total of 50,000 tourists flock to the festival to write their wishes on lanterns and later release 100 to 150 lanterns to the sky, hoping the gods would grant what they wrote there.
The lanterns used in the festival vary in size and there are different colors on each of its sides, depending on the kind of wish: Red symbolizes good fortune; pink is for romance; peach-red is for decisions and opportunities; orange is for money; yellow is for success in school and/or job; white for health; light green for growth; light purple is for idealism; and light blue is for wishing something to become true.
Pingxi is also the only allowed place in Taiwan where people can light up a lantern to the sky.
Since Pingxi is the highest rainfall area in the country — receiving 6,000 millimeters of rain per year — it is considered environmentally safe for the sky lanterns to fly since the fuel inside will be extinguished before reaching to the sea.
Residents who also make lanterns make sure every material is recyclable from the paper to its frame.
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