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Strolling Between the Lights

Each year the lantern festival keeps visitors from every part of the world coming to Taiwan. But which meaning do the beautiful, colorful lanterns have and what does the lantern festival look like here in Taiwan?

Lanterns have been keeping a long tradition and a special symbolism in Chinese history. Not only are they a portable source of light, but they have also become symbols of luck and the bringing together of humans. In ancient China, people had already held celebrations close to today’s lantern festival, by decorating city market squares with all kinds of colorful lanterns. Though today the sources of light look a lot different, lanterns are still celebrated today each year on the 15th day of the first lunar month. The lantern festival is the big finale of Chinese New Year celebrations, held all over the country with fireworks, dancing, and of course colorful lanterns. Famous for its countless expertly crafted lanterns, traditional dragon and lion dances, folk art performances, acrobatic shows, and ceremonial temple processions, the lantern festival fascinates lots of international visitors each year.

Apart from smaller festivals held in each part of the country, from February 22 until March 6, 2016, the Taiwan Lantern Festival took place in Taoyuan. This year’s host town impressed visitors not only with a seemingly infinite number of gigantic, colorful lanterns, but the artistic play of light and shadow as well as the passion for detail, visible in every single piece of art in the exhibition, left visitors amazed and made the attendance a special and unique experience. After taking a look at the lanterns, visitors could stroll along the market close to the exhibition space, to buy one or two souvenirs, or enjoy some Taiwanese or international delicacies.

In the Year of the Monkey, the cute animals were of course ever-present at the festival. Apart from the main attraction reaching 26 meters into Taoyuans sky, the “Fulu Monkey“ in the shape of a gourd fruit, exhibited in Yuanshan, Taipei, sparked attention on Twitter and Facebook. The hashtag #Fulu travelled all around the social media world.