Tourism Bereau Discontinues Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival, celebrated annually on the fifteenth day of the first month of the Wester New Year, and ends the Chinese New Year.  The fifteenth day of the first month, one may view the first full moon of the New Year, hence the name: Yuan Xiao Festival (Yuan meaning month, and Xiao meaning night). 

The festival is originally celebrated to cultivate relations with the people, families, nature and spirits (believed to be responsible for continuing the existence of light into the following year).  In the year of 104 B.C.E., emperor Qin ShiHuang procliamed this festival as one of the many vital celebrations and have the ceremony to last throughout the night in compared to certain hours for one day with some other festivals. 

Lantern Festival

The brightest of lanterns were symbolism of good luck and hope.  The tradition of guessing lantern riddles, carried on from the Tang Dynasty, popular through secretly planted messages within, of good fortune, family reunion, abundant harvest, prosperity and love. 

It was in the Sui Dynasty when the Lantern festival called for a celebration with gala performances.  The begining of the Tang Dynasty (7th Century), the lanterns would last for three days in all, and the emperor lifted the curfew so the people may enjoy the festival not limited to certain hours throughout the night, but the entire day and night throughout.  The largest recorded celebrated Lantern Festival took place in the early 15th Century when it continued for ten days, thanks to Emperor, Chengzu. 

Quoted from a Taiwan festivities website,  “The duration of the festivities once lengthened to as much as 45 days; after the Republic of China was established in 1912 the holiday was shortened to five days, and later on to three.”

Today, the lanterns have taken up many forms, symbolism and colours, however celebrated all the same.  Continuing for thousands of years, the meaning of the festivities still holds truth and warmth within every Asian.  Festivities are one way we celebrate and continue in parade of our history and culture, reuniting the people through peace, awareness and exchange of happiness. 

Lantern Festival in Hong Kong, 2003.

Lantern Festival in Hong Kong, 2003.

 On Saturday, Janurary 3, 2009, the Tourism Bereau commented that the Lantern Festival may continue, however is undecided whether this year may be contributed by the County Government or the Bereau themselves. 

What is the problem with this decision?  Traditionally, for the past twenty years, the Tourism Bereau have held the celebrations successfully, having drawn in both local and international tourists for the festivities.  This year, it will begin on February 2, 2009, expecting a range of 5,000 foreign tourists to attend the event. 

According to the China Times’ report, “Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) was assessing whether the Tourism Bureau should continue hosting the annual event after this year.”  The report as well mentioned that the festival may be cancelled after the evaluation. 

Minister Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國)

Minister Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國)

The MOTC Minister Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) commented that after the government decided to change the event’s name from the “Taipei Lantern Festival” to “Taiwan Lantern Festival” as well as the venues of the annual festival, there have since been many a voiced complaints such as from some Japanese travel agencies, commenting that the name alteration creates problem in tour scheduling.  Some other tourism agencies are unable to make schedule for this year’s celebration due to the late notification of this year’s new location. 

Mao comments, “Given that local governments are also equipped with marketing resouces, there is a need for us to redefine the Lantern Festival.”

Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall Plaza where the annual celebration of the Lantern Festival was traditionally held.

Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall Plaza where the annual celebration of the Lantern Festival was traditionally held.


For more information on Taiwan festivals and their significance, please visit this website, or by going to:


~ by Lan on 2008 Mon+00:002009-01-05T08:04:37+00:00. 15.

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