Everything is illuminated: Tainan lights up for Taiwan Lantern Festival 2024


The main display for the Taiwan Lantern Festival uses solar energy materials as a symbol of sustainable development. — Photos: Taiwan Tourism Administration

From today until March 10, Tainan is hosting the 35th Taiwan Lantern Festival, an evening extravaganza with 40 light-based artworks over 50ha of space.

The festival returns to the ancient capital after 16 years and for this edition, the city is banking on green energy and technology, while infusing them with the city’s history and tradition.

Ministry tourism administration director-general Dr Chou Yung-hui expects this year to be a big year for the city’s tourism.

"Countries are finding ways to resume their tourism industry after the Covid-19 pandemic and we hope that the Taiwan Lantern Festival can boost this for Tainan,” he said at a press conference in Tainan on Feb 24, which The Star attended, ahead of the opening ceremony.

The lanterns on display, Chou adds, are representative of Taiwan. The whale lantern, for example, depicts the Formosa (the main island of Taiwan) and there is also one on rice fields that speaks of Taiwan as a rice producer.

Visitors can expect to see one giant lantern depicting Mazu (centre), the sea goddess in Buddhism, with two other deities.Visitors can expect to see one giant lantern depicting Mazu (centre), the sea goddess in Buddhism, with two other deities.

Tainan mayor Huang Wei-che, who was also present at the press conference, said the festival combines Tainan’s expertise in chip manufacturing and green energy, with the city’s heritage and tradition.

"It’s a combination of the old and the new,” he said.

This year’s main lantern display, named "Dragon Comes to Taiwan”, was designed by renowned artist Peng Li-chen, known for her artworks that push the boundaries of design and engineering, while retaining their cultural beauty.

Made up of solar panels (in line with the green energy theme), it is 22m high and took almost four months to complete.

It uses solar energy materials like ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) plastic and carbon 60 to reinforce the idea that the festival is committed to sustainable development.

Chou (left) and Huang at the press conference in Tainan.Chou (left) and Huang at the press conference in Tainan.

A stilt-walker performing on the main stage during a rehearsal session ahead of the opening of the Taiwan Lantern Festival 2024.A stilt-walker performing on the main stage during a rehearsal session ahead of the opening of the Taiwan Lantern Festival 2024.

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