The annual Taipei Lantern Festival will begin next month at the Taipei International Flora Expo site next to the Yuanshan MRT Station, with hundreds of lanterns to be displayed during the Lunar New Year holiday celebrations.
The festival, which will begin on Feb. 6 and run through March 3, will feature a 4km-long lantern tunnel along Zhongshan N Road and Minchuan MRT Station, as well as a main lantern zone starting from Feb. 21. The lantern designs will be based on the upcoming Year of the Snake.
The Taipei City Government moved this year’s festival from National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and other venues in Xinyi District (信義) in a bid to sustain the popularity of the expo sites after the flower event ended in 2011.
In related news, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday unveiled the city’s handheld lantern for the festival, which incorporated Aboriginal designs in the shape of a snake.
The Aboriginal patterns used in the pink lanterns, named Haha (哈哈), were designed by Aboriginal artist Kao Yao-nan (高耀男) to represent the variety and beauty of the nation’s ethnic art, Hau said.
“Snakes shed their skin every year, which represents change in the coming year. The economic crisis has made many people suffer over the past year and we hope the festival will bring prosperity and happiness for everyone this year,” he said yesterday at Taipei City Hall.
Lantern designer Lin Chia-wei (林佳葦) said that traditionally, snakes had a negative public image.
However, the animal is a symbol of strength and protection in some Aboriginal cultures. The incorporation of Aboriginal patterns in the handheld lantern aims to infuse the lanterns with culture.
Huang Lu Ching-ru (黃呂錦茹), commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Civil Affairs, said the department expects the festival to attract more than 5 million visitors this year.
A total of 100,000 free handheld lanterns will be given out at the main entrance of the expo site at Yuanshan Park and 12 district offices starting at 1:30pm daily on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24.