Fun and Action at Lantern Festival


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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