With an illuminated 20m-tall mascot pig lighting up the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and rows of lanterns shining over the streets, this year's Taipei International Lantern Festival -- a celebration of the holiday that marks the end of Lunar New Year period -- begins this evening.
The festival runs through March 11 at the memorial and this year's theme is the Year of the Pig, which is considered a symbol of fortune, prosperity and luck because of the roundness of the pig's belly.
To reflect that theme, this year's mascot is an adventurous, time-traveling "Zhucolate" pig -- a pun containing the Chinese word for pig -- who educates people on the history and meaning of the Taipei International Lantern Festival and encourages them to discover the beauty of Taipei.
PHOTO: LIAO CHEN-HUEI, TAIPEI TIMES
The city's Department of Civil Affairs handed out 20,000 free mini "Zhucolate" pig lanterns to mark the festival and will hand out another 40,000 to the public during the celebrations. Twenty thousand will be distributed today and another 20,000 tomorrow at 2pm at the memorial hall.
In addition to the lantern display at the main square of the memorial, 16 lanterns depicting qualities associated with the Year of the Pig and representing aspects of traditional culture will be on display on Xinyi Road and Aiguo East Road, the department's deputy commissioner, Jason Yeh (
To promote the Lunar New Year to foreigners visiting or living in Taiwan, the festival also features an international lantern area near the National Concert Hall, with lanterns sponsored by international companies to represent different countries and cultures.
A riddle contest, a traditional part of the Lantern Festival, will be held every night during the celebrations, the department said.
The department also created an online survey asking peope to vote for the Taipei shops that make the best yuanxiao, which are stuffed sticky rice balls eaten during the Lantern Festival.
Tai Yi Milk King (
Chiu Ru (
The city's Department of Transportation encouraged festival-goers to take advantage of its special "festival bus" during the celebrations, as heavy traffic was expected around the festival area.
Passengers can catch the buses at the Taipei Main Station, National Taiwan University Station and Taipei City Hall Station, the department said.
Details on the festival are available on the Internet at www.taipei-festival2007.com.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
While stereotypically considered a household pest that simply will not die, Hung Ting-yang’s (洪鼎揚) experience with Archimandrita tesselata, commonly called the peppered roach, might change a person’s mind. The peppered roach originates in South America, is omnivorous and, as it is capable of growing to 7cm to 9cm long, is a giant compared with other roaches, which have an average length of about 4cm. The peppered roach goes through six separate chrysalis stages and takes nine months to reach full maturity. Mature roaches have wings, but cannot fly and can only glide. They have an average lifespan of three years. As his
The EU’s list of safe nations to which it would reopen borders next week does not include Taiwan, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the list has not been finalized and some EU countries have highlighted the importance of “reciprocity.” The provisional list comprises Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the Vatican, the New York Times reported on Friday. The EU said it would add China, considered one of the “acceptable countries,” if it also opens its borders to EU travelers, the newspaper reported. Backed by