Puppet performances, pop music and a 20-minute fireworks display are among the events planned for the 2011 Taipei Dadaocheng Fireworks Festival (2011臺北大稻埕煙火節), which was originally scheduled for tomorrow at Dadaocheng Wharf (大稻埕碼頭) and Yanping Riverside Park (延平河濱公園). The celebrations have been postponed to an unspecified date because of Typhoon Muifa.
If it weren’t for the delay, this year’s festival would have coincided with Lover’s Day (七夕情人節, also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day) and the day when the “Old Man Under the Moon” (yuexialaoren, 月下老人) — a mythical character from the Tang Dynasty who is considered to be the deity of love, matchmaking and marriage — pairs up single men and women. Dihua Street’s (迪化街) Taipei Xia Hai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟), whose statue of the Old Man Under the Moon is said to be one of Taiwan’s most efficacious, still plans to celebrate all things amorous when the event is rescheduled.
With marriage on the wane, divorce on the rise, and recent estimates by pediatrician Lue Hung-chi (呂鴻基) that abortions in Taiwan outstrip births by two to one, it looks as though the Old Man has his work cut out.
Titan Wu (吳孟寰), a spokesman for the temple, says he’s beseeched the deity to help him find a girlfriend, though without much luck. “He’s probably too busy helping other people,” Wu quipped.
On Saturday afternoon last week, the temple was packed with young women throwing cherry-red divining blocks, beseeching the god for an ideal mate and praying at the temple’s main incense burner. Many were flanked by anxious-looking mothers — presumably there to ensure the rituals were performed properly.
When rescheduled, the delayed Lover’s Day activities will begin at 1pm at Yongle Square (永樂廣場), which is located next to the temple. They include a mock traditional Chinese marriage (傳統婚俗體驗), which gives visitors the opportunity to don old-fashioned marriage garments and carry a bridal sedan chair. Participants will also have the chance to win an Old Man Under the Moon figurine.
What: 2011 Taipei Dadaocheng Fireworks Festival (2011臺北大稻埕煙火節) and Lover’s Day (七夕情人節) celebration
When: Postponed because of potentially inclement weather. New date to be announced
Where: Taipei Xia Hai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟) and Yongle Square (永樂廣場), 21, Dihua St Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市迪化街一段21號). Dadaocheng Wharf (大稻埕碼頭) and Yanping Riverside Park (延平河濱公園)
On the Net: taipeitravel.net2011fireworks (Chinese and English)
Over at Dadaocheng Wharf and Yanping Riverside Park, (both about five minutes from Dihua Street by foot), the Taipei City Government has arranged a number of activities such as hand puppet shows, classic movies, folk rituals and traditional snacks. Lectures highlighting the importance of the historic Datong District (大同), where the wharf, park and temple are located, will also be given. Singers from the hit TV talent show Super Idol (超級偶像) will sing classics and movie theme songs at Yanping Riverside Park, and Taiyuan Puppet Theater Company (台原偶戲團) will give a puppet performance, followed by a tribute to Taiwanese hand puppet master Li Tien-lu (李天祿).
The festival, which the Taipei City Government had hoped would attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from Taiwan and abroad, will end with a 20-minute fire display.
Taipei’s Traffic Police Division advises those planning to attend to use public transportation. Shuttle buses will be available at Taipei Main Station MRT stop (捷運台北車站) East Exit 3 and Shuanglian MRT Station (捷運雙連站) Exit 2. Shuttle buses run from 5pm to 11pm and depart approximate every five minutes. Bus Nos. 9, 12, 206, 255, 274, 518, 641, 669, 704, 811 and Red 33 all stop at the venues. Complete travel information (Chinese and English) can be found at taipeitravel.net/2011fireworks.