Fun and Action at Lantern Festival

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2019 / May

Chuang Kung-ju /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Phil Newell


Lantern Festival falls on the night of the first full moon after the Lunar New Year. Temples are decorated with lanterns and people carry around lamps as they admire the lanterns and watch fireworks. This is also a time when many distinctive religious events are held all over Taiwan to cele­brate the New Year.


Bombing Lord Handan (Taitung City)

“Bombing Lord Handan” is a Lantern Festival event that is unique to Taitung. Xuanwu Temple selects flesh-and-blood people to play the role of Lord Handan (an incarnation of the God of Wealth), to be carried through the streets on a palanquin while firecrackers are thrown at them. The faithful believe that the greater the din of the firecrackers, the more prosperous the coming year will be.

Miaoli Dragon Bombing (Miaoli City)

In Hakka areas of Miaoli City, the Dragon Bombing is an unusual and distinctively Hakka Lantern Festival event. While a dragon dance is performed, firecrackers are set off all around.

Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival (Tainan City)

Strictly speaking, the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks is a ceremony for warding off epidemic diseases. This ritual of thanks to the deities has been held for many years, and today has become a must-see event in the celebration of Lantern Festival in southern Taiwan.

Shezi Earth God Procession (Taipei City)

Worship of the Yenong Earth God on Shezi Island is mainly centered in Fu’an Neighborhood. The neighborhood is divided into four sections, and at about 6 p.m. on Lantern Festival, local young people set out carrying four palanquins with Earth God icons on tours of the area. Wherever they go, firecrackers are set off, and the greater the number of explosions, the greater will be people’s financial good fortune. The festivities bring the night alive all over Shezi.

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鬧元宵

文‧莊坤儒 圖‧莊坤儒

元宵節是農曆新年過後的第一個月圓夜,廟宇張燈結綵,人們提著燈籠賞花燈,觀賞絢爛煙火。這是慶祝新年到來的眾神祭典,全台為之瘋狂。

 


 

台東寒單爺

炮炸寒單爺是台東特有的元宵節活動,相傳寒單爺是財神爺,由廟方遴選肉身寒單,前往商家或定點,站在轎上被炮手轟炸。信眾相信,炮炸得越旺,當年的財運越亨通。

 

苗栗火旁龍

在苗栗市客家地區, 龍是非常特別的元宵活動,一邊舞龍一邊燃放鞭炮,極具客家特色。

 

鹽水蜂炮

嚴格說來,鹽水蜂炮其實是對抗瘟疫的祭典,因為感念神恩,行之有年,現在已是南台灣元宵慶典民眾必去親炙的一場盛事。

 

社子島夜弄土地公

社子島的夜弄土地公以福安里為主,下分為4個角頭,共4尊土地公,在元宵節當天的晚上六點左右,當地的年輕人就會扛著土地公神轎出巡,走到哪鞭炮就放到哪,炸的越旺表示財運越旺,整個社子島如同一座不夜城。

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