If you’re looking for something to add to your bucket list then I’d highly recommend that you ink this one in. Yesterday was Taiwan’s annual sky lantern festival – an evening where thousands of lanterns are released in to the sky simultaneously, bearing the wishes of individuals. The festival marks the 15th day of the lunar new year and thus the end of Chinese New Year celebrations.
There are places all over Taiwan that you can go to see and participate in the events. I visited the The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival. Here, you can actually release lanterns all year round but on the day of the festival it is believed that all your wishes for the coming year will come true, and nobody is going to risk not jumping on that bandwagon. In Pingxi, the tradition actually started because the locals were at risk of being robbed (or worse) due to being situated in the mountains and so they used the lanterns to let others know that they were safe. Nowadays, anybody can head here, write their wishes and release a lantern in to the sky in the hope that it will bring them good fortune. Whether or not you believe in that sort of thing, the actual act of releasing a lantern lifting all your hopes to the skies is a brilliant thing in itself – and if you time it with this festival, safe for fighting for breathing space on public transport, you are in for a treat.
For want of a better adjective, this was one of the most beautiful manmade spectacles I have ever had the pleasure of watching. Thousands of sky lanterns floating through Taiwan’s skies – truly beautiful.