You have probably heard of the famous Taiwanese Lantern Festival concluding the Chinese New Year period and celebrated every year in Pingxi (平溪) District, a remote mountain town in New Taipei City. There are many activities all over Taiwan during this time but the one in Pingxi is considered to be one of the best if not THE best! thousands of visitors go there every year and the thousands of sky lanterns light over the district. This is definitely an unforgettable experience.
As part of the CNY travel collection, i'm happy to share with you our experience of participating in the festival and lit some lanterns of our own too! Keep reading it only gets better...
So this is how it went, a local friend is calling me asking if I'd like to experience Taiwan's special event celebrating the Lantern Festival and see some sky lanterns, in Chinese called "天燈, or 提燈籠 which means to lift and lit a sky lantern.
My reaction was an immediate YES! and we started our journey on the noon time. I have to admit the way is pretty long if you're not anywhere close to Taipei Main Station and go only by trains but as I and thousands of other visitors can assure you, it was worth it! We arrived before sunset time which we found to be the best time to see the place as it was filled with romantic, nostalgic corners and paths, for a while I felt as if I'm walking in the streets of Italy...the Shifen old street is small and narrow, and lights of all colors and sizes can be seen all over.
Small booths with yummy snacks and Taiwanese foods can be found all around you, and the locals are all calling you to come over and get a bite to try, fresh smells of foods are filling the air leaving you no way to avoid their callings. From fried egg cakes to seafood sticks, hot dogs, bubble tea, rice balls with various fillings, sugar candy sticks and the list is long. There are tea shops and coffee shops, restaurants and shops from both sides of the streets, that just by walking there and absorb the air you get to be full and happy.
After experiencing the local environment, filling our stomach and our hearts, we started walking towards the light...this is actually the main stage where the main release of the lanterns is happening. The place is always super packed with people which may be challenging sometime but hey, that is probably the most positive gathering could ever be as people gather to launch their own wishes and blessing at the same time to the heavens...a mesmerizing view.
Once arriving the main stage you will get to enjoy some performances and a traditional Lion Dance (舞獅) on stage prior to the big release. The whole atmosphere is very special and even magical in a way. So to fully enjoy and be part of it we warmly recommend you to not only watch but also to launch a lantern yourself, this is a once if a life time fun (or once a year if you're that persistent on going there annually lol)
The fun part of this event is to think of a wish you'd like to send up there and maybe even practice your Chinese on the way...you have four sides to write on the lantern in case you got worried for a moment lol, sure one of them will look awesome!
Honestly, that main release event is extremely exciting. Imagine thousands or more huge lanterns of all the colors and different wishes written on them flying up to the skies at the same time, with beautiful music playing on the background, I could literally feel the positive vibes coming out of everyone there and I was touched to tears...You can't feel it till you see it. So if you haven't been there this year plan on going there on the next. Promise you will thank yourself for doing that.
Oh Pingxi you enlightened my eyes and my heart, you left this warm memory in me that will last for the years to come ❤
Check this link to get more info on the event and how to get there
Watch a cool video from Off the Great Wall discussing on the origin of the Lantern Festival
Feel free to comment and share your thoughts and feelings. Stay Tuned! ♥️
And remember- whenever you plan on coming and wish to see such scenes or take part in richful activities in Taiwan, feel free to get in touch, we would be happy to show you around and share all this pleasure with you! Be assured you will not in get lost in translation! 😁