The Taiwan Lantern Festival opened at the Luodong Sports Park (羅東運動公園) yesterday, with more than 2,000 brightly colored lanterns lighting up the sky.
The Tourism Bureau and the Ilan County Government hosted a ceremony last night to celebrate the opening, attended by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國), Ilan County Commissioner Lu Kuo-hua (呂國華) and other dignitaries.
The VIPs lit the main lantern, shaped like a water buffalo, and then a fireworks display began. The ceremony featured performances by local and overseas groups, including the Lanyang Dancers (蘭陽舞蹈團).
Four secondary lanterns encircled the main lantern: the “Lucky Dragon and Phoenix,” “Longevity of Tortoise and Crane,” “Galloping steeds” and “Leap in Lanyang.” The lanterns were designed by groups ranging from elementary school students to non-governmental groups. Ilan Prison inmates also made 800 lanterns.
Organizers will hand out 130,000 handheld lanterns to attendees. Among those attending yesterday’s festivities were 127 members of China’s Henan Province Travel Association.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the Taiwan Lantern Festival, the Tourism Bureau also invited lantern collectors to exhibit some of their pieces.