Lanterns light up Taiwan

Year of the pig sky lantern festival in Pingxi, Taiwan

The Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout Asia between late January and early February, but few places do it as spectacularly as Taiwan, which is famous for a dazzling sky lantern festival and a crazy firework display that have spawned the commonly heard phrase “fireworks in the south and sky lanterns in the north.”

The fireworks in the south refer to the beehive fireworks festival in Yenshui, an insane event where rockets are fired at spectators, and the sky lanterns in the north are part of an Instagram-favourite display seen every year in Pingxi, near the capital city of Taipei.

There is also a national lantern festival that is of more recent vintage that moves from city to city each year that could expand the phrase cited above to include “lanterns somewhere in between.”

The conundrum for visitors is that all three of these events take place on the 15th of the first month of the lunar calendar, and since it’s impossible to be in each place at once, you have to pick one or come back a few more times to experience them all, which doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

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