The Pingxi Lantern Festival

Sunday (February 28th) was the 15th day of the Lunar Year, and with that comes one of a number of celebrations in Taiwan for the Lantern Festival.  One of the biggest celebrations, if not the biggest, comes in the form of the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival.  One this day, thousands of paper lanterns have wishes written on them, paper or some sort of fuel is lit inside and they are then left to float into the sky in the hope that the wishes will come true.

Pingxi is a pretty small town, but it is certainly loaded with people during the festival.  Although there is a location which is specifically set up for releasing the lanterns, lanterns are lit and released in many areas.

First, you choose the color of the lantern you wish to use, as each color is meant to carry a specific type of wish.  For example, white might be for a wish related to employment, red for love, or any of quite a number of other possible colors.  Being honest, I don’t remember the specifics.  Then, your wish is brushed onto the lantern using a calligraphy brush.

After the calligraphy has been done, the paper fuel is lit, which of course gives the lantern it’s lift, and when the lantern is sufficiently ready, it is left to head into the sky.

As I had mentioned, there was an area specifically designated for releasing the lanterns, but the majority were simply let go in the middle of the town, right along the train tracks.  Adding to the excitement greatly was the times when the train arrived and people had to scramble off the tracks, or get plowed over.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen, but the possibility seemed to add to the sense of fun.

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