The organizers of this year’s Taipei Lantern Festival said yesterday that they hope the city’s low birth rate will rise in the Year of the Rabbit, as the rabbit is a symbol of fertility.
Surrounding the central lantern, an LED display called Baby the Rabbit, will be several mini rabbits bearing the Chinese characters for “good pregnancy,” which is also a homonym for “good luck” in Mandarin, the city’s Department of Civil Affair said.
The idea is to integrate Taipei City’s ongoing New Birth Incentive Program with the fertility symbolism of the rabbit to encourage residents to have more children, the department said.
“We want Taipei citizens to feel the energy of rabbits during the lantern festival,” Commissioner Huang Lu Ching-ju (黃呂錦茹) said.
Taipei City recorded 18,530 births last year, a crude birth rate of 7.09 per thousand, which was below the national average of 7.22 per thousand, according to the Executive Yuan’s figures.
In an effort to address the problem, the city launched a New Birth Incentive Program in May last year, offering numerous subsidies to encourage families to have more children.