Light Up the Taiwan Sky

by Akhil Kalepu

Jan 15, 2016

© Jenhuang99 | Dreamstime

Trends / Unique Itineraries & Tours

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 Lantern Festiva, Taiwan © Christopher Rawlins | Dreamstime 11643898

© Christopher Rawlins | Dreamstime


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.


Pingxi Lantern Festival, Taiwan © Nicholashan | Dreamstime 23213347

© Nicholashan | Dreamstime



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