Last year, you probably would have considered our experience at Lantern Festival to be a bit less than ideal.
Yeaaa. That’s Dan holding our blazing sky lantern, completely obliterating his dream of finally getting a pony. He’s still waiting for Santa to write back on that one.
This year we decided to stay away from fire and stick to the main Lantern Festival event hosted by the Taiwan tourism bureau. It just so happened to be held in Jhubei, just over the river from home.
There are numerous stories to the origin of Lantern Festival, most dating from Taiwanese folklore. Some say thousands of years ago, the Chinese would see dancing deities under the first full moon of the month. On one cloudy night, the deities were no longer visible; all the people gathered their torches to try to illuminate the gods. Although the Chinese never could see their gods again, lighting up torches became a tradition. Today’s lantern festival is a way to promote tourism while carrying on Chinese heritage, including the art of lantern making. From master paper craftsmen to elementary school children, everyone is invited to participate in the creative lantern designs.
There were many incredible lanterns, but the main attraction was a 20-meter tall serpent. In honor of the Year of the Snake, the serpent-like dragon symbolized national prosperity, and of Taiwan flying into a flourishing future.
We would have enjoyed lantern festival much, much more if it weren’t for the constant pushing and shoving. It seems we went during prime time, which left little ability to stop and enjoy the hundreds of lanterns exhibited. Ah well. That’s what you get when you live in one of the most densely populated countries in the world.