Thu, Feb 10, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Taipei Lantern Festival set to launch tomorrow

BUNNY BLESSINGS:The Department of Civil Affairs will be distributing 80,000 free mini-lanterns featuring rabbits and symbols of good fortune over the two-week festival

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

The annual Taipei International Lantern Festival will open tomorrow in front of Taipei City Hall and adjacent areas in celebration of the Year of the Rabbit with a kaleidoscope of colors featuring a dozen different themes that will light up the streets in Taipei.

The two-week festival, which runs through Feb. 20, will also take place at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and a stretch along Renai Road.

The festival’s main lantern — Baby the Rabbit — was lit up last night at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. The lantern was made with the latest LED materials, allowing for the display of various images and patterns. The 360o rotating lamp mascot was surrounded with six bunnies that symbolized the blessings of the New Year and the celebration of the nation’s centennial.

Huang Lu Ching-ju (黃呂錦茹), commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Civil Affairs, said the department also made walkways underneath the main lantern to allow visitors to enjoy it more closely.

The department will give out free rabbit lanterns from Saturday to Thursday at the two entrances to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall along Renai Road starting at 2pm, and from Saturday to Sunday at the front entrance of Taipei City Hall at the same time.

Huang said the design of the mini-lanterns incorporated a number of “lucky” characteristics, including the tails of rabbits that resembled a bat (“bat” in Chinese has the same sound as “good fortune”) and clovers to symbolize good fortune for the lantern holder.

The department prepared about 80,000 mini-lanterns to give away, and each individual is limited to one lantern. An additional lantern will be given out free in exchange for two sales receipts dated between last month and this month.

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