Although February 28th marks the end of the Chinese New Year holiday for 2010, many cities throughout Taiwan are featuring special celebrations in honor of the Lantern Festival day. Cities such as Taipei commenced a big celebration this past weekend with festivities continuing through March 7th.
Traditionally, the Lantern Festival is when paper lanterns are lit on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. Many celebrate by releasing the lanterns, called tian deng, into the night sky. In addition, many cities in Taiwan have an annual Lantern Festival, where residents and tourists can enjoy ornately decorated large-scale lanterns located at designated areas around town.
Taipei Lantern Festival 2010: Fu Fu Good Luck to the Wind
For 2010, the Year of the Tiger, the city is filled with spectacular lanterns, each featuring the astrological symbol in a variety of ways. The festival is staged around the Taipei City Hall and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in downtown Taipei and also features exhibitions, entertainment programs, and food booths.
This year, the main lantern is the “luck tiger HoKi” and includes elements from Taipei’s 2010 International Flower Exhibition to take place later this year. By combining elements of both, organizers hope to let everyone see the beauty of flowers and plants in Taipei and to celebrate the festival of lights.
In addition to the lanterns, there are 10 special zones, including ones inspired by the Wizard of Oz, Utopia, and another dedicated to five of the world’s continents. During the weekend of March 6-7, there will also be afternoon stage performances and games.
Transportation and Hours of the Lantern Festival
Due to the expected crowds during the festival, organizers are recommending you do not try to drive into the city in hopes of finding a parking spot as traffic will be hectic around Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. In addition, most lots in the general vicinity have raised their hourly parking fees for the duration of the event.
The most convenient way is to take the Taipei MRT as there is a stop right at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Or, you can take a cab which should be relatively cheap, depending on where you are coming from and how bad traffic is.
The lantern party will take place from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. each night until March 7th. You can tour the lanterns during the daytime as well, but the best experience will be during the night hours when the lanterns and street displays come alive.
For specific information on the Taipei event location and surrounding area information, please see the event map.