This year’s Taipei Lantern Festival (台北燈節) celebrates the Year of the Dragon with free performances and giant lanterns on display until Feb 12. The lanterns, which represent themes ranging from traditional folklore to the Transformers movie series, are set up at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館) and Taipei City Hall’s Civic Plaza (市民廣場).
Event organizers invited famous blogger and illustrator Wan Wan (彎彎) to create this year’s mascot, the Happy Dragon (Happy龍). With its big sparkling blue eyes and confident posture, Happy Dragon struts into the new year. A 21m-tall Happy Dragon takes pride of place as the main lantern at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall display also includes lanterns created by students from across Taiwan, and a mesmerizing school of golden carp designed to move as if they are swimming when the wind blows.
The centerpiece of the Civic Square lantern display is the high-tech 3D Auspicious Dragon Theater (3D祥龍劇場), which will take place in front of Taipei City Hall nightly every half hour between 7pm and 11pm until the end of the festival. A giant holographic dragon will be projected onto an inverted pyramid made of glass.
Taipei City Hall Plaza also features an area specially designed to appeal to the imaginations of small children. The Magic Forest (魔法森林燈區) has individual lanterns scattered among trees to create the effect of an enchanted woodland. Lanterns include animals like monkeys and insects, mythical creatures such as winged horses and characters from beloved stories such as Alice in Wonderland. Another area at the Taipei City Hall Plaza showcases lanterns inspired by the Transformers. Giant robots duke it out with one another or tower over buildings.
What: 2012 Taipei Lantern Festival (台北燈節)
When: Through Feb. 12. Lanterns will be lit daily at 7pm
Where: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館), 505, Renai Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市仁愛路四段505號) and Taipei City Hall’s (台北市政府) Civic Plaza (市民廣場) at the intersection of Renai Road (仁愛路) and Shifu Road市府路
Admission: Entrance is free
Nightly free performances outside the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall take place from 7pm to 10pm. Tonight’s show includes appearances by pop singer Henry Tseng (曾昱嘉), the winner of the fourth season of Super Idol (超級偶像), punk group Fire Ex (滅火器樂團) and the Chu-yin Dance Group (楚殷舞蹈團). Musicians performing tomorrow include Eve Ai (艾怡良), Hsiao Hung-jen (蕭閎仁) and the Six Happy Bows (六樂弦), which put a pop twist on traditional stringed instruments. Sunday’s lineup features Stephen Rong (榮忠豪), Filipe King (杜俊瑋), South Korean singer Kim Seul Gi, dance group Limitless Sweetheart (無限甜心舞團) and rock group Champion (強辯樂團). For a complete list of performers, visit www.2012taipei-lantern-festival.com/program.html.