Sat, Feb 08, 2020 - Page 3 News List

Lantern Festival opens in Houli

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer

A lantern depicting the Wedding of the Mice is pictured in Taichung in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of the Tourism Bureau

The main lantern for this year’s Taiwan Lantern Festival is to be lit today at Taichung’s Houli Forest Park, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said.

The ministry said in a statement that it chose the park, which was part of the 2018 Taichung World Flora Exposition, because it hopes to make global environmental protection a theme for the festival.

The design of the festival includes unique Taiwanese technological, ecological and cultural aspects, the ministry said, adding that the overall concept and design took into consideration local specialties and development needs, as well as commercial and technological viability.

The festival not only expands on existing traditional culture, but also introduces new elements, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said in the statement.

The main lantern, titled The Guardian of the Forest — Tree of Light (森生守護-光之樹), was designed by Lin Shuen-long (林舜龍), Tourism Bureau Director-General Chou Yung-hui (周永暉) said.

The 15m-tall lantern features 22 branches symbolizing Taiwan’s counties and cities; 368 flower buds representing the nation’s townships, districts and boroughs; and 2,359 leaves embodying Taiwan’s 23 million people, the bureau said.

People can visit the main exhibit, sponsored by Chunghwa Telecom, which features an interactive balloon inside, the bureau said.

“The concept is that the flora expo’s seed has now grown into a towering tree,” Lin said, adding that it echoes the bureau’s call to be closer to nature and designation of this year as the “Year of Mountain Tourism.”

The festival grounds will be open to the public from 7pm today and the main exhibition is scheduled to feature a show every hour, the bureau said.

The event is to run until Feb. 23, the bureau said, urging people to take public transport when visiting the festival grounds to reduce traffic congestion and their effect on the environment.

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