The New Year’s season is implacably festive, and people have been out in force in cities across the region in recent days, stocking up on provisions and traditional new year symbols.
In Taipei, revelers were particularly enamored of snake-shaped paper lanterns supplied by the municipal government, as well as coins imprinted with snake logos and snake-like toys thought to bring good luck.
At the Temple of White Snakes in Taoyuan County, director Lo Chin-shih presided over a glass-encased display of dozens of slithering snakes, replete with flashing pink tongues and slowly molting skin, a symbol of change, renewal and hope for a better future.
Lo Chin-shih said this snake year will be a time of steady progress, in contrast to the more turbulent nature of the dragon year.
“Unlike dragons that make abrupt, attention-getting moves, snakes make slow and steady progress,” he said, making it clear he considers the hiss of the Year of the Snake to be worse than its bite.