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Lantern Festival celebrations light the night across Taiwan

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Lanterns resembling aquatic life are displayed at the Tainan High Speed Rail station on Saturday. CNA photo
Statues of deities are safeguarded inside ceremonial palanquins while event attendees don protective gear to get ready for the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Rockets Festival on Saturday. CNA photo
Traditional Dragon Dance performers in Miaoli County put on a ceremonial routine in exploding firecrackers on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Miaoli County Government
A large number of sky lanterns take to the night sky on New Taipei's Pingxi District Saturday night. Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Tourism and Travel Department
A family takes a stroll through the lantern display of the New Taipei Lantern Festival on Saturday night. CNA photo
The giant centerpiece dragon lantern of the New Taipei Lantern Festival breathes smoke during a performance Saturday evening. CNA photo

Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) The annual Lantern Festival, which fell on Feb. 24 according to the 2024 Lunar Calendar, lit up the skies across Taiwan Saturday night through unique celebrations across the island's myriad of communities.

As per tradition, the most magnificent event on the island is the annual Taiwan Lantern Festival, which returned to Tainan for the first time in 16 years.

Combined with the fact that 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, arguably the most auspicious animal of the Chinese zodiac due to its mythical status, the 2024 Taiwan Lantern Festival featured a number of giant light fixtures in its two display areas, located in the city's Anping Recreational Wharf and High-Speed Rail station.

While the Taiwan Lantern Festival shone the spotlight of tourism onto Tainan this year, one of the more famous Lantern Festival celebrations of the city is traditionally the annual Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Rockets Festival.

The festival sees statues of deities safeguarded inside ceremonial palanquins, with attendees donning protective gear as fireworks explode around them.

Up north in Miaoli, communities in the majority-Hakka county annually observe the festival with their unique custom of Exploding Dragon, where Dragon Dance performers act out their ceremonial routine while basking in both firecrackers and firework rockets.

With 2024 being the Year of the Dragon, the county's dragon-themed celebration was bigger than ever as performance became all the more fitting for the occasion.

The popular Pingxi Sky Lanterns Festival also featured dragons this year, with two centerpiece lanterns made in the form of a Chinese dragon soaring to the night sky among a wave of sky lanterns to vie for another lantern, crafted in the shape of a dragon ball.

Meanwhile, the New Taipei Lantern Festival held inside the New Taipei Metropolitan Park touts open spaces for visitors and a giant Chinese dragon that breathes smoke during shows.

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