Travel Bucket List: Taiwan’s Annual Lantern Parade Lights Up Love River Once More - Travel

This year’s festivities will also be held simultaneously at Weiwuying, the world’s largest single-roof performing arts center.

If you’re looking for a lovely, post-valentine escape, you might want to head over to Taiwan next month to catch their popular Lantern Festival.

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Started in 1990s, the festival—also called Yuan Xiao—is an annual event hosted by Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau on the 15th day of the first month of the new Lunar Year.

According to Taiwan.net, that “aside from the usual worship of the gods, the occasion involves guessing lantern riddles, eating rice-flour dumplings, and releasing lanterns into the sky in New Taipei City’s Pingxi Township.”

The Yanshui Beehive Rocket Festival in Tainan, continues the Taiwan.net information, is another major event during the Lantern Festival. “Colorful lanterns of all sizes and shapes have always been main attractions of the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated with a grand national festival and other major festivals in Taipei and Kaohsiung,” it reads.

After 20 years, the festival makes a return to Kaohsiung / Photo by Rémi Thorel on Unsplash

The event used to be held solely at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park, but started touring the country starting in 2001. That year, in its first change-of-venue, Love River in the port and industrial Southwest city of Kaohsiung was picked.

Today, two decades later after that first switch, the 12-kilometer Love River will once again play host to the Lantern Festival. But this time, it will share venue duties with Weiwuying.

“Zoom in to Taiwan, Highlight Kaohsiung” is this year’s theme / Photo by Dave Weatherall on Unsplash

Weiwuying is home to the world’s largest single-roofed performing arts center. Complete with woods, fungi, and a lake against rolling hills, the Weiwuying Metropolitan Park stands out as a fitting land art venue for the festival.

This year’s Taiwan Lantern Festival revolves around the theme of “Zoom in to Taiwan, Highlight Kaohsiung.” A ray of light is geometrically configured to form the first Chinese character of the city’s name, ablaze. The concept of light is further accentuated with the use of bright colors, thereby spotlighting the city’s warmth and geniality and the exciting array of lantern works at the festival.

Weiwuying is home to the world’s largest single-roofed performing arts center / Photo by November Wong on Unsplash

The main lantern at Weiwuying marks a first attempt at incorporating the art of calligraphy. While Weiwuying is located in the port city’s Fengshan District, this collaboration of artist Benson Lu and calligrapher Tong Yang-tze centers on the first of the name’s two Chinese characters: feng, or phoenix.

Aptly dubbed “Phoenix Dancing,” the work readily conjures up an image of lively and vigorous flourishes in calligraphy.

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