Thu, Jan 26, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Sky lanterns to light up Pingsi in four-day festival

Staff Writer, with CNA

The annual Sky Lantern Festival in Pingsi District (平溪), New Taipei City (新北市), will get off the ground today with thousands of paper lanterns lighting up the skies, the municipal government said.

More than 5,800 sky lanterns and 2,500 wooden amulets will be distributed to the public for free during the four days of the festival — today, on Saturday and on Feb. 4 and Feb. 6, festival organizers said.

On Feb. 4, a 6m sky lantern will be released by a select number of people who have submitted photographs and messages on the festival’s Web site before today, the organizers said.

The ritual of releasing gigantic sky lanterns was reserved for government officials in the past.

The highlight of the festival will be the simultaneous release of a record-breaking 1,000 sky lanterns on Feb. 6, the municipal government said.

The century-old Sky Lantern Festival in Pingsi was named the world’s second-largest carnival by Discovery Channel in 2008. In 2002, it was designated as one of the three largest lantern festivals in Taiwan by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Each year, the festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Pingsi, the only place in the country where the release of sky lanterns is permitted.

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