Taiwan Lantern Festival lights up Tainan with 15 million visitors in its sights

Taiwan Lantern Festival lights up Tainan with 15 million visitors in its sights

The 2024 Taiwan Lantern Festival lit up Tainan on Saturday to mark the beginning of the 14-day festival of lights, Taiwanese culture, national peace and much more.

The mega festival, originally a Tiapei-based folk festival launched in 1990, showcases over 300 lantern art pieces this year to up to 15 million tourists. To give tourists a nudge, the Taiwanese Government is giving all international independent travellers who visit the festival a complimentary 2024 Year of the Dragon lantern, a limited-edition souvenir and an event ticket, provided they show their passport on entry.

The Taiwan Lantern Festival sign (Author’s image)

Alongside the enormous array of lanterns for bright-eyed visitors to gaze upon, the Taiwan Lantern Festival includes over 170 performances throughout the program – six of these being international performances – and brought 110 foreign media to Taiwan for the festival.

The first night of the festival saw Tainan’s mayor, Huang Wei-che, speak alongside Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, just before the lighting of the main lantern, ‘Dragon Comes to Taiwan,’ (featured image) which is based on this year’s Chinese zodiac sign. ‘Dragon Comes to Taiwan’ stands at a total of 22 metres tall and became engulfed with luminescence on Saturday evening with its combined abstract and figurative elements wowing festival attendees.

Travel Weekly was on the scene at the festival to discover the festival and heard from Director General Chou Yung-hui on the importance of arguably Asia’s largest lantern festival at a press conference beforehand.

“It’s about branding Taiwan, branding our culture through the lantern festival,” Yung-hui said.

The Director General highlighted the festival’s role in supporting environmentally conscious tourism, spotlighting Taiwan’s Indigenous people and catering towards business travellers exploring their bleisure opportunities.

Taiwan Lantern Festival displays (Author’s image)

The festival is also an opportunity for Tainan, a city known for its solar energy industry, to showcase this via the main lantern with materials such as EVA and sustainable green elements like carbon 60.

This year’s festival includes rituals such as seat-setting ceremonies, alongside traditional processions featuring whistles, drums, and large gongs before the lighting ceremony. The lanterns integrate traditional customs and folklore to portray a vibrant and colourful spectacle through a combination of traditional practices and modern technology.

Alongside the festival, visitors enjoyed the 23rd World Orchid Conference in Taiwan at the International Convention Centre Tainan where florists and flower enthusiasts alike came together to enjoy some of Asia’s best floristry.

The Lantern Festival has been recognised by Discovery as one of the “World’s Best Festivals”.

Featured Image: ‘Dragon Comes to Taiwan’ – Author’s Image

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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