Pingxi, located one hour from the capital of Taiwan, is host to one of the lesser-known celebrations for Chinese New Year, where more than 100,000 floating lanterns are released into the moonlit sky.
While the festival is a modern recreation by the local government, its customs date to the Xing Dynasty. When bands of outlaws would raid low-lying villages of Taiwan, watchmen would use “fire lanterns” to signal the danger, telling villagers to hide in the surrounding mountains. When the outlaws were gone, another lantern would call them back to their homes.
Pingxi doesn’t have to worry about raids anymore, but the local government has used the tradition for its annual Lantern Festival to honor the region’s traditional folklore during the end of Chinese New Year. With more than 80,000 attendees, the event has become a bit commercial with big-screen televisions and celebrities, but Old Street maintains an old-town vibe.
To participate in the festival, you must purchase a lantern for a few dollars and write down your wish before placing a candle inside. The launches start at 6:30 p.m. and happen every 20 minutes until 9:30 p.m. With no light pollution clouding the full moon, seeing the night sky filled with hundreds of candles is an awe-inspiring site.
You've planned every last detail of your trip, from the perfect accommodations to tours to enjoy, but overlooked one crucial element: sleep. Travel and time changes throw off our circadian rhythms and lead to sleep loss. However, sleep deprivation can dull your response time, throw you into a depression, age your skin and pack on the pounds. It also just makes you irritable during much-deserved vacation time. Although you may not be able to restore your sleep to its full capacity on the road, you can get more rest with these products that help you sleep while traveling.
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