@FarEastAdvTravl

The World Famous Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival-Taiwan

By John Saboe | Taiwan

Mar 09
A sky lantern is sent off into the sky in Pingxi, Taiwan  before the start of the festival that sees thousands of sky lanterns simultaneously released as part of Lunar New Year celebrations

A sky lantern is sent off into the sky in Pingxi, Taiwan before the start of the festival that sees thousands of sky lanterns simultaneously released as part of Lunar New Year celebrations

Far East Adventure Travel The Podcast is brought to you by Far East Adventure Travel Magazine. Gokyo Valley, Nepal-World’s Best Kept Trekking Secret is now on the iTunes Newsstand free when you subscribe. Visit the iTunes App Store or breezy-size.flywheelsites.com to download the app and start your Free subscription now.

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is one of the most popular Lunar New Year Celebrations in Taiwan. People will travel from all over the island just for this event which starts about two weeks before the end of Lunar New Year festivities. A few years ago The Discovery Channel called it the second best New Year’s festival in the world. It’s caught on so it’s no surprise when I visit I see more Westerners here than anywhere else at any time of year in Taiwan.

I’m checking out one of the first sky lantern releases of the season which is held in the town of Pingxi, less than an hour by car or bus east of the capital of Taipei.

People visit Pingxi and the neighbouring town of Shifin year round to release lanterns but Lunar New Year is the most popular time to come. Each person writes on one of the four sides of the lantern with their own new year’s prayers. You do the customary pose for pictures then release the lantern into the sky.

The first lanterns were used from 220-280 A.D. as a communication tool during war times in China. When the Hans people immigrated from China to Taiwan between 1820-50 the lantern was used to signal to family members that it was safe to return home. Robberies were common at the time in the mountain town of Pingxi.

Every year the festival is held here. The main releases take place on one of the local school grounds.

Pingxi is a beautiful little town and should be visited on a separate trip just to savour some of it’s authentic Taiwanese heritage. Many of the buildings were constructed in the 1930’s and 40’s along with wooden houses built during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. There’s lots of shops selling traditional crafts and gifts. Some of the most beautifully crafted silk lanterns are produced in Pingxi. Of course because it’s Taiwan, there’s lots of food, including local snacks.

If you have time it’s always fun to take a northbound train to Ruifang, then catch the tourist train to Pingxi. Along the way you can also stop in Shifin and walk to Shifin waterfall which some believe is the nicest one in all of Taiwan.

It is definitely a celebratory atmosphere here in Pingxi with everyone getting in on the new year’s fun. Many people release lanterns with their prayers and wishes from the train tracks which run right through the village.

There’s also a really cool film on the lantern traditions of Pingxi that plays through this lantern shape building throughout the day. OK I’m getting the gong so it’s time to head back to the school grounds and get ready for the first release of the night.

I wasn’t kidding when I said the PIngxi Sky Lantern Festival is a big deal, drawing dignitaries, celebrities and T.V. crews from around the island and the world. And guess what, it didn’t rain after all. Just a little mountain mist.

There’s introductions-then the first group hits the school grounds to get ready for the first sky lantern release of the night. Maestro, a little musical interlude. Then finally the spotlights are dimmed and the first release of the Lunar New Year begins.

Fodor’s Travel Guides named it one of 14 festivals a person must see in their lifetime. History, tradition and a joyful unique celebration in the hills of Northeastern Taiwan. I would agree this is a remarkable event one must see to complete their experience of Taiwan’s Lunar New Year celebrations! Xin Nian Kaui Le, Happy New Year from the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Taiwan.

Gokyo Valley, World’s Best Kept Secret-the latest issue of environmentally friendly digitally only Far East Adventure Travel Magazine is now on the iTunes Newsstand. Get your free subscription now by downloading the app. Go to the iTunes App Store or breezy-size.flywheelsites.com to get started. Don’t forget to like the Facebook Far East Adventure Travel page with daily images from Asia. You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Google+, all the links are at breezy-size.flywheelsites.com

That’s it for this episode of the Far East Adventure Travel The Podcast, thanks so much for joining me, until next time this is John Saboe-safe travels and Namaste!

A crowd prepares for a lantern release during the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Northern Taiwan

A crowd prepares for a lantern release during the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Northern Taiwan

Follow

About the Author

I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.

Related Posts

Swayambhunath-“The Monkey Temple”-Kathmandu, Nepal-Captured this morning at 6:30 while observing/filming Gunla, the month long Buddhist festival observed by Newari Buddhists. The Newaris are the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley. This month long ritual of praying, fasting, playing music, and singing is believed to originate from when the monks retreated from the monsoon rains to meditate. Loud, but full of joy I only recently discovered this festival with the kind help of a ticket attendant at Swayambhunath who let me use my entrance ticket a second day,(never happened before), to see the Gunla ritual. Inspiring to see young and old followers enjoying the warm spirited atmosphere at this storied site. Energy/vibe-crazy amazing!!!#nepal #himalayas #kathmandu #annapurna #podcast #photojournalism #trekking #backpacking #buddhist #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #travelblogger #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography #mountainscape

Kathmandu, Nepal-More From Gai Jatra 2018 Festival this past Monday. Some of my best moments spent in Nepal besides trekking in the Himalaya have been observing the various festivals whether they’re Hindi, Buddhist, or Newari. The indescribable aura especially with the mix of beliefs and people that come from all over the country to work in the Kathmandu Valley is magical, unlike almost anywhere else I’ve visited. Sometimes I wonder did I find this place or did it find me. On my 8th visit in as many years… #kathmandu #hindu #hinduism #nepal #festival #podcast #photojournalism #trekking #backpacking #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography #WeAreSherpa

Kathmandu, Nepal-Gai Jatra 2018, “The Festival Of Cows”! These boys are dressed as cows leading processions of people who have lost a loved one this past year. Cows lead the processions but if one is not available a boy dressed as a cow is an acceptable substitute. They accept offerings from people in the street. Young children are dressed in bright colorful costumes and adults sometimes dress in funny outfits. It’s all to help those see they are not alone in their suffering and to help relieve the pain of loss. I felt so much joy and community today in Kathmandu. Once again the spirit of harmony and compassion unfolded itself in a beautiful ritual in the Kathmandu Valley. #kathmandu #hindu #hinduism #nepal #festival #podcast #photojournalism #trekking #backpacking #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography

Varanasi, India-The look in their eyes. Sometimes I turn the camera the other way just to capture moments like this. A group in this boat staring up at the ghats of the great Ganges each with their own perspective, different reasons perhaps of why they are there. Do they have a relative who’s body was cremated or are they waiting for someone to finally pass on to the next life? Are they simply just tourists admiring the ghats and city for the first time. Or could they be reminding us to always feel gratitude no matter what’s currently happening in our lives. Varanasi goes at many speeds with layers of activity that can sometimes only be felt days, even years after the fact…. #varanasi #nikon #puja #incredibleindia #hinduism #streetphotography#photojournalism #away #tripme #traveling #alone #nikon #flowers #photooftheday #new#happiness#travelingram#instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #FF #igtravel #followme

The Hungry Ghost Festival 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan

The Hungry Ghost Festival 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan

Mt. Kailash,Tibet-The highest point on the kora of Mt. Kailash, Drolma La Pass, 5630 meters. This is one of the most unique adventures on the planet. Travel to remote Western Tibet, Walk for 3 days on a pilgrimage around one of the holiest places of Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and Bon followers. They say doing one kora around Mt. Kailash wipes away the sins of a lifetime. Some believe after you do a kora, circumambulation of Mt. Kailash, you will go on to do something good for humanity. It’s an incredible awakening and it helped change my life! #tibet #buddha #buddhism #hinduism #photojournalism #trekking #india #backpacking #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #travelblogger #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography #mountainscape

Hanoi, Vietnam-I think we’ve lost so much in the way of individuality and charm when it comes to retailing, let alone how it’s impacted our cultures and society. So many governments encourage big business and multinational chains with tax breaks and incentives while making it increasingly harder for an individual to start a small business- shameful! The Old Quarter Of Hanoi is still filled with family businesses that offer products, services, and style that’s quite unique for a capital city these days. From a traveler’s perspective it’s so refreshing to walk around a city and not see the same stores that are showing up everywhere else on the planet. I want more LOCAL at home and when I travel! #vietnam #hanoi #fuji #myfujifilm #fujifilm #streetphotography#photojournalism #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #walkingstreet #nightmarket #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #FF #igtravel #followme #travelphotography