Lantern Festival set to wow crowds in Hsinchu

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 - Page 3

The Taiwan Lantern Festival is set to light up on Feb. 24 this year in Hsinchu County, in a grand finale to the month-long Lunar New Year festivities and celebrations.

The main display at the festival will be a 26m high snake lantern, illuminated from inside by 200,000 LED lights, depicting the Year of the Snake, the event organizer said.

Designed to look like a snake rising toward the sky, the lantern is intended to carry wishes heavenward for the country’s prosperity, organizers said.

Visitors to the festival can also expect dazzling light shows around four smaller lanterns that signify the traditional Lunar New Year wishes for wealth and good luck, they added.

One of the lanterns is shaped like a pile of jewelry and gold ingots, while another looks like Pixiu (貔貅), a mythical hybrid creature in Chinese folklore that signifies wealth. The other lanterns depict a phoenix in flight and an elephant, which signifies peace.

Another highlight of the festival will be a Japanese parade featuring a large illuminated dragon-shaped float, known as a nebuta in Japanese, and more than 100 people marching and dancing to the sounds of drums and festival music.

The float is to symbolize prayers for world peace and gratitude toward Taiwan for its assistance to Japan in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, the event organizers said.

The parade, usually the highlight of the Aomori Nebuta Festival in the Japanese prefecture of Aomori, will be held in Taiwan on Feb. 28 and on March 2 and 3.

Ecological sustainability videos will be projected onto a giant curved screen to raise awareness of the issue during the festival, the organizers added.