Taiwan’s World Famous Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is one of the most popular Lunar New Year Celebrations in Taiwan. People will travel from all over the island just for this event which starts about two weeks before the end of Lunar New Year festivities. A few years ago The Discovery Channel called it the second best New Year’s festival in the world. It’s caught on so it’s no surprise when I visit to  see more Westerners here than anywhere else at any time of year in Taiwan. 

I’m checking out one of the first sky lantern releases of the season which is held in the town of Pingxi, less than an hour by car or bus east of the capital of Taipei.

People visit Pingxi and the neighbouring town of Shifin year round to release lanterns but Lunar New Year is the most popular time to come. Each person writes on one of the four sides of the lantern with their own new year’s prayers. You do the customary pose for pictures then release the lantern into the sky.

The first lanterns were used from 220-280 A.D. as a communication tool during war times in China. When the Hans people immigrated from China to Taiwan between 1820-50 the lantern was used to signal to family members that it was safe to return home. Robberies were common at the time in the mountain town of Pingxi.

Every year the festival is held here. The main releases take place on one of the local school grounds.

Pingxi is a beautiful little town and should be visited on a separate trip just to savour some of it’s authentic Taiwanese heritage. Many of the buildings were constructed in the 1930’s and 40’s along with wooden houses built during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. There’s lots of shops selling traditional crafts and gifts. Some of the most beautifully crafted silk lanterns are produced in Pingxi. O Excerpts from “Taiwan’s World Famous Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival”.

About the Author John Saboe

I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.

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