Taiwan Lantern Festival Lights Up Taipei After 23 Years

After a 23-year hiatus, the 2023 Taiwan Lantern Festival wowed locals and foreign visitors alike with a diverse array of lanterns in various shapes and sizes. Co-organized by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau and the Taipei City Government, the 18-day extravaganza, which coincided with the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese lunar calendar, marked Taiwan’s first large-scale international event since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in October 2022.

Brilliant Light of the Jade Hare by Taiwanese artist Akibo Lee

According to Chiu Yimg Liang, the subsection chief of the Tourism Development Division, the Taiwan Lantern Festival was initially a relatively low-key event until the first festival in 1990, after which it became the largest and most prominent annual celebration of its kind held in different cities.

With the theme “Light up the future,” the festival showcases spectacular displays of lights, blending traditional lantern art and culture with innovative lighting technology. The festival covers 168 hectares and includes four main exhibition areas, over 300 exhibits, and 12 lantern zones, with districts such as Xinyi and Daan featuring many lanterns.

The “Brilliant Light of the Jade Hare” was a significant attraction at the festival, designed by Taiwanese artist Akibo Lee, paying homage to Taiwan’s achievements in the semiconductor industry. The 22-meter lantern features a robotic rabbit produced using “performance capture technology” that can replicate the facial expressions of Taiwanese Olympic gold medalist weightlifter, Kuo Hsing-chun. The robot comes to life every 30 minutes with lights and sounds, each time for around three minutes.

Another notable attraction was the “Spiral Dragon Brings Prosperity,” an arch at the entrance to the central display zone in the Ximending district, inspired by Chinese folk tales and animated every 30 minutes.

Spiral Dragon Brings Prosperity entrance arch
Starting from the Heart, Taiwan Blue Magpies Perched

The festival drew visitors of all ages, including Jeremy Chin and his girlfriend Mei Jia, who opted for a romantic stroll through the festival rather than a traditional Valentine’s Day dinner. Lillian Mah, who attended the festival with her children and grandchildren, said she had missed the event during its 23-year hiatus and was impressed by the advances in technology and robotics on display, adding that it was clear the festival and Taiwan had made great strides.

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[Sources: The Sun Daily & The Star]


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