Taiwan temple’s floating lanterns are now environmentally friendly

Water lanterns are a Ghost Festival tradition, but a temple in Hualien is ensuring they are biodegradable too

Water lantern floating event in Taiwan (CNA photo)

Water lantern floating event in Taiwan (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – To mark Ghost Festival, a century-old temple in eastern Taiwan has organized an environmentally-friendly lantern floating event.

Xietian Temple (協天宮), Yuli Township, Hualien County, traditionally floats water lanterns on Xiuguluan River (秀姑巒溪) at this time of year, reported CNA. Crafted in the shape of an ancient house, they have white paper walls and a red roof.

The base, which used to be made of polystyrene, is being built out of banana tree wood this year instead. This makes the lantern entirely biodegradable and reflects the rise of eco-consciousness in the country.

In front of each “house” is an incense stick to “illuminate the road for wandering ghosts,” a significant part of the rite. The lanterns are also offered as residences for those living in the underworld, according to the report.