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2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival kicks off in Chiayi

2018/03/02 22:41:32

Taipei, March 2 (CNA) The 2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival officially opened in Chiayi County on Friday in what organizers called the largest lantern event ever held in Taiwan.

This year's festival venue spans over 50 hectares of open space, the largest in the event's history, Chiayi County Magistrate Chang Hua-kuan (張花冠) said in her opening speech.

At the same time, a 360-degree interactive view of the display area can be experienced through virtual reality (VR) technology available at the site for the first time, according to Chang.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who lit the 21-meter-tall central theme lantern to the delight of tens of thousands of visitors, also praised the magistrate for her efforts in pushing the county's progress.

The main lantern for this year's festival depicts a smiling indigenous child with a canine companion standing on top of Alishan in the southwestern county.

The 21-meter-tall lantern, called "Loyal Auspiciousness," symbolizes "the past, standing firmly in the present, and looking forward to the future," according to the Taiwan Lantern Festival's official website.

In addition to the main lantern, there is a supporting lantern area for the two lanterns that make up the three featured lanterns for the 10-day festival.

These are "Station of Happiness," which depicts a chariot and a mini train, and "Rays of the Sun," which showcases the Mikado pheasant, which is indigenous to Taiwan.

The many other lantern areas use different elements of traditional art, LED lights and modern design to represent the beauty of Taiwan and Chiayi culture.

The festival will run until March 11.

(By Huang Guo-fang, Chiang Chun-liang and Ko Lin)