Light up the future

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE TAIPEI CITY GOVERNMENT TEMPLE at Wenshan District shines with lights and lanterns.

Along with lanterns illuminating the city of Taipei is the reignition of President Tsai Ing-wen’s commitment to building a country with a “better tomorrow.”

The festival returned to the city for the first time in 23 years. A total of 300 installations were put up across all of Taipei’s 12 administrative districts. The main display, a 22-meter-tall rabbit astronaut by Taiwanese artist Akibo Lee, was stationed in front of the National Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. It emulated the facial expressions of Taiwanese Olympic gold weightlifter Kuo Hsing-Chun using motion capture and an LED screen.

President Ing-wen expressed the government’s central and local plans in addressing the needs of its people at the opening of the Lantern Festival last month in Taipei.

Other main venues of the festival are the Taipei City Hall Square (Central Display Zone), East District commercial area (Beacons of Light Display Zone), Songshan Cultural and Creative Park (Fount of Light Display Zone), and Xinyi Commercial District (Lights of the Future Display Zone).

First staged in 1990 in Taipei within the grounds of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the Taiwan Lantern Festival was held to promote traditional folk culture domestically, showcase Taiwan culture internationally, and attract tourists from around the country and the globe, the said.

Taipei was home to the Lantern Festival until 2000. To promote balanced regional promotion, the festival has been held in different locations around Taiwan starting in 2001.

The Lantern Festival is an ancient celebration that falls on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. It is held with other large-scale events — the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in New Taipei City, Bombing Lord Han Dan in Taitung, and Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival in Tainan.

Since the easing of its pandemic restrictions, the Taiwan Lantern Festival is the first large-scale international event held in the country. Tainan will be next year’s host.

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