Taiwan Lantern Festival starts today

Taiwan Lantern Festival will be held in Chiayi this year and kicks off Friday, March 2

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(Image from Taiwan Lantern Festival website)

(Image from Taiwan Lantern Festival website)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- To coincide with the traditional Lantern Festival, the annual Taiwan Lantern Festival will officially kick off today (March 2) in central Taiwan's Chiayi County.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will officially turn on the lights tonight to mark the opening of the 2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival, which will run until March 11. In addition to dance performances and lantern displays, the opening ceremonies will also include a spectacular aerial display by five F-16 fighter jets showcased by Taiwan’s air force for the special occasion.

The main lantern of this year's festival has been named “Nature-born Loyalty”and it features a smiling indigenous child and a Taiwanese dog standing on Alishan as they overlook a “sea of clouds.” The hand-held lantern of the festival has been named "Dali Dog," has an ingenious design and represents the hope for good fortune and happiness in the Year of the Dog.


(Image from Taiwan Lantern Festival website)

The official mascot of the festival is the official bird of Chiayi County -- the Swinhoe's Blue Pheasant. The mascot is based on a male of the species with a white crest, red eyes and colorful feathers.


(Image from Taiwan Lantern Festival website)

The rare and legendary Pokémon Mr. Mime, and different forms of Unown, will be on the loose at this year's Taiwan Lantern Festival. The Chiayi County Government recently announced a partnership between the local government and Pokémon Go developer Niantic in which two rare Pokémon will be available to be caught in Chiayi County during the 2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival.


(Image from Taiwan Lantern Festival website)

As part of the opening ceremonies of the lantern festival, the women of the Puzi Sisters Network (朴子姊妹連線) will perform a canine-themed dance routine titled "She-wolf" (女狼傳說). Their performance features Rumba and Cha-cha inspired choreography to two dog-related songs, in homage to this year’s zodiac.


(Image from Taiwan Lantern Festival website)

At 50 hectares, the 2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival will cover the largest area in the history of the event, while the lanterns will powered by a record-breaking 43 kilometers of electrical lines.


(Image from Taiwan Lantern Festival website)

This is also the first year that the national lantern festival has ever been held outside of northern Taiwan.


(Image from Taiwan Lantern Festival website)


(Image from Taiwan Lantern Festival website)


(Image from Taiwan Lantern Festival website)

Public Transport
To reduce carbon emissions, festival organizers suggest that visitors make use of Taiwan High Speed Rail, Taiwan Railway trains, and other public transport.

Taiwan High Speed Rail

  • Passengers taking THSR can get off at Chiayi Station. From there, take a shuttle bus to go to the festival site.
  • The shuttle buses are available during the following hours:
    Weekdays: 3 p.m. - 11 p.m. Weekends and holidays: 2 p.m. - 11 p.m.

Taiwan Railways

  • Passengers taking express trains please get off at Chiayi Train Station. Head to the bus terminal at the back of the station and take a shuttle bus that goes to the festival site.
  • Passengers taking city trains can get off at Nanjing Train Station. From Nanjing Sugar Factory, take a shuttle bus that goes to the festival site.
  • The shuttle buses are available during the following hours:
    Weekdays: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Weekends and holidays: 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

For more information, please visit the 2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival official website.