Thu, Dec 26, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Yuan Zai a main feature at Taipei Lantern Festival

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

The panda Yuan Yuan hugs her cub Yuan Zai at Taipei Zoo as they celebrate the cub’s first “winter solstice” on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of the Taipei Zoo

The Taipei Lantern Festival will start on Jan. 25 at the former Taipei Flora Expo Park near the MRT’s Yuanshan Station, with lanterns featuring the panda cub Yuan Zai (圓仔) one of the main attractions at the annual event to celebrate the Year of the Horse.

The festival, which will run until Feb. 16, will include various lantern display areas from the expo dome to the Greeting Square Tunnel entrance next to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

A “lantern tunnel” along the Zhongshan N Road will be lit on Jan. 25, followed by the launch of the main lantern display areas at the expo dome and the museum on Feb. 6, according to the event organizer, Taipei City’s Department of Civil Affairs.

Department Commissioner Huang Lu Ching-ju (黃呂錦茹) said lanterns featuring Yuan Zai would be on display in two areas at the museum. The panda cub will be the star attraction at the “Dreamland” display area, featuring an 8.3m-high Yuan Zai character, while sharing the scene with other traditional toys such as tops and diabolos in the “Nostalgic Toys” display area.

Asked if the city government plans to use the panda cub instead of the horse as the lantern theme for this year, Huang Lu said the city would offer two types of handheld lanterns: a horse, as it is the Chinese zodiac symbol for next year, and the panda cub.

The main lantern will be made using recycled disks as part of the city’s efforts to raise environmental protection awareness, she said.

The department said the design of the main lantern and handheld lanterns will be unveiled soon.

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