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PHOTO ESSAY/Lantern Festival celebrations light the night across Taiwan

02/25/2024 06:48 PM
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Two large lanterns engineered in the shape of East Asian dragons glow in the dark on Saturday at the 2024 Taiwan Lantern Festival in Tainan. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
Two large lanterns engineered in the shape of East Asian dragons glow in the dark on Saturday at the 2024 Taiwan Lantern Festival in Tainan. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024

Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) The annual Lantern Festival, which fell on Feb. 24 according to the 2024 Lunar Calendar, lit up the skies across Taiwan Saturday night through unique celebrations across the island's myriad of communities.

As per tradition, the most magnificent event on the island is the annual Taiwan Lantern Festival, which returned to Tainan for the first time in 16 years.

Lanterns resembling aquatic life are displayed at the Tainan High Speed Rail station on Saturday. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
Lanterns resembling aquatic life are displayed at the Tainan High Speed Rail station on Saturday. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
Visitors traverse among a winter scene on the first day of the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Tainan Saturday. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
Visitors traverse among a winter scene on the first day of the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Tainan Saturday. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024

Combined with the fact that 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, arguably the most auspicious animal of the Chinese zodiac due to its mythical status, the 2024 Taiwan Lantern Festival featured a number of giant light fixtures in its two display areas, located in the city's Anping Recreational Wharf and High-Speed Rail station.

Statues of deities are safeguarded inside ceremonial palanquins while event attendees don protective gear to get ready for the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Rockets Festival on Saturday. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
Statues of deities are safeguarded inside ceremonial palanquins while event attendees don protective gear to get ready for the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Rockets Festival on Saturday. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
Firework rockets are shot into the crowd at the annual Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Rockets Festival. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
Firework rockets are shot into the crowd at the annual Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Rockets Festival. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024

While the Taiwan Lantern Festival shone the spotlight of tourism onto Tainan this year, one of the more famous Lantern Festival celebrations of the city is traditionally the annual Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Rockets Festival.

The festival sees statues of deities safeguarded inside ceremonial palanquins, with attendees donning protective gear as fireworks explode around them.

Traditional Dragon Dance performers in Miaoli County put on a ceremonial routine in exploding firecrackers on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Miaoli County Government
Traditional Dragon Dance performers in Miaoli County put on a ceremonial routine in exploding firecrackers on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Miaoli County Government

Up north in Miaoli, communities in the majority-Hakka county annually observe the festival with their unique custom of Exploding Dragon, where Dragon Dance performers act out their ceremonial routine while basking in both firecrackers and firework rockets.

With 2024 being the Year of the Dragon, the county's dragon-themed celebration was bigger than ever as performance became all the more fitting for the occasion.

The two centerpiece dragon lanterns of the 2024 Pingxi Sky Lanterns Festival soar into the sky in an attempt to capture the dragon ball lantern on Saturday night. Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Tourism and Travel Department
The two centerpiece dragon lanterns of the 2024 Pingxi Sky Lanterns Festival soar into the sky in an attempt to capture the dragon ball lantern on Saturday night. Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Tourism and Travel Department
A large number of sky lanterns take to the night sky on New Taipei's Pingxi District Saturday night. Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Tourism and Travel Department
A large number of sky lanterns take to the night sky on New Taipei's Pingxi District Saturday night. Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Tourism and Travel Department
A family takes a stroll through the lantern display of the New Taipei Lantern Festival on Saturday night. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
A family takes a stroll through the lantern display of the New Taipei Lantern Festival on Saturday night. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
Festival attendees take pictures with the giant centerpiece dragon lantern during the New Taipei Lantern Festival on Saturday evening. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
Festival attendees take pictures with the giant centerpiece dragon lantern during the New Taipei Lantern Festival on Saturday evening. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
The giant centerpiece dragon lantern of the New Taipei Lantern Festival breathes smoke during a performance Saturday evening. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024
The giant centerpiece dragon lantern of the New Taipei Lantern Festival breathes smoke during a performance Saturday evening. CNA photo Feb. 24, 2024

The popular Pingxi Sky Lanterns Festival also featured dragons this year, with two centerpiece lanterns made in the form of a Chinese dragon soaring to the night sky among a wave of sky lanterns to vie for another lantern, crafted in the shape of a dragon ball.

Meanwhile, the New Taipei Lantern Festival held inside the New Taipei Metropolitan Park touts open spaces for visitors and a giant Chinese dragon that breathes smoke during shows.

 

(By James Lo)

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