7 Amazing To-Dos for Lantern Festival 2017

Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the 1st month in the lunar calendar, is another frantically celebrated festival after Chinese New Year. In Chinese, Lantern Festival is called 元宵節 (Pinyin – yuán xiāo jiē) on which the whole family should gather together to eat “yuanxiao”, a kind of sweet rice-flour dumpling.

Thanks to the rich cultural diversity in Taiwan, Lantern Festival has evolved into a day on which many fun and exciting activities are going on in different places on this small island.

1 Fo Guang Shan Lantern Festival (佛光山平安燈會) Kaohsiung
2 Yanshui Beehive Firework (鹽水蜂炮) Tainan
3 Yuejing Riverbank Lantern Festival (月津港燈節) Tainan
4 Luermen Firework Festival (鹿耳門國際煙火節) Tainan
5 Bombarding the Handan (台東炸寒單爺) Taidong
6 Pinxi Sky Lantern Festival (平溪天燈節) Taipei
7 Local Lantern Exhibitions (台灣燈會) Everywhere

It is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. Right at the entrance, the solemn Buddha sculpture calm you down to peaceful emotions. An important ceremony is held here to help people seek for the inner and outer peace while celebrating this meaningful festival. The 2-week long celebration starts on the 1st day of Chinese New Year and ends with a sensational closing ceremony on Lantern Festival.

It has been dubbed as one of 10 World’s Best Parties 2015 by the Australian travel magzine – Get Lost. For it is a dangerously exciting activity to take part in. Around 200 Beehive Rocket Launchers, 1 million rockets, are served for the brave warriors’ challenge. The blind firecrackers can go any direction to bombard you. If you would like to join this special party, the strict dress code must be followed.

 

 


If you are looking for more quiet event, Yuejing in Tainan is a good choice. Taking a night stroll along the serene riverbank, you can see many exquisitely crafted lanterns by the local artists in Tainan. This sparkling exhibition opens for 1 month from 7 days before the Chinese New Year to 7 days after Lantern Festival.

Luermen Mazu Temple is said to be the first Mazu Temple in Taiwan. Every year many international firework teams gather here to light up the sky with splendid fireworks. For the high performance of this firework show, this has become an important event in the southern Taiwan. Please note this firework show falls normally on the closest weekend to Lantern Festival.

 


Handan is one of the 5 important Gods of Wealth. Legend has it that he chose to stay in Taidong and offered to march through the whole Taidong city to bring wealth to the citizens on Lantern Festival. Throughout the march, people throw firewcrackers to bombard Handan, acted by real human, to make him warm because he doesn’t like to feel cold.

 


[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gJH22WNqyM&w=640&h=266]

Pinxi Sky Latern Festival is recommend as a must-go event before you die by CNN, Discovery and Fodor’s. Sky lantern was traditionally a way for farmers to signal a safe message. Today, you can lit a sky lantern anytime in Pinxi, but only on Lantern Festival can you see thousands of sky lantern fly up together.

Everywhere

Local Lantern Exhibitions – 台灣燈會

Many of the exciting and sensational events above are not easy to reach for foreigners. Don’t panic! You still have good ways to celebrate by going to the nearest lantern exhibition in your city. Most cities have their own lantern exhibitions and the main national lantern exhibition is held in different cities every year.

–  Yunlin Lantern Festival

2017.02.11 – 2017.02.19

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– Kaohsiung Lantern Festival

2017.01.30 – 2017.02.12

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– Taipei Lantern Festival

2017.02.04 – 2017.02.12

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– Nantou Lantern Festival

2017.01.21 – 2017.02.19

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– Tainan Lantern Street

2017.01.22 – 2017.02.12

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No matter how you plan to celebrate Lantern Festival in Taiwan, don’t forget to eat a bowl of yuanxiao with your good friends either in the night market or at street vendors to mark a sweet and smooth start for the new year.

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Traditions and Taboos during Chinese New Years

As a foreigner, it might be bewildering to see all the complicated “dos and don’ts” in Chinese New Year. Here is a good help!

chinese-near-year

 

Chinese New Year, or say Spring Festival, is the most important festival in Chinese culture countries, like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, China and Singapore. If you happen to be there or even stay with a Chinese family at that time, this is a great help for you to “correctly” celebrate this festival and avoid many taboos.

New Year Eve
(除夕)
chú xī
1st
CNY Day
(初一)
chū yī
2nd
CNY Day
(初二)
chū èr
3rd
CNY Day
(初三)
chū sān
4th
CNY Day
(初四)
chū sì
5th
CNY Day
(初五)
chū wǔ
Family Reunion Dinner
(年夜飯)
nián yè fàn
Visit temples
(拜拜)
bài bài
Married Daughters Back
(回娘家)
huí niáng jiā
Rats’ Wedding
(老鼠娶親)
lǎo shǔ qǔ qīn
Welcome Gods home
(接神)
jiē shén
Worship God of Fortune
(迎財神)
yíng cái shén
Staying Up Late
(守歲)
shǒu suì
Grand Family Reunion Go to bed early Dump trash out
No washing hair
No taking nap
No porridge or meat as breakfast
No traveling faraway No waking up late
No laundry
No cooking
No sweeping
No dumping the trash
No using scissors and needles
No lending or borrowing money
No quarreling and cursing
No visiting hospital
No scolding children
No unlucky words
No cutting hair

As the legend said, an ancient monster called Nian (年, nián), which means “year” literally, used to eat humans, espeacially the kids, on the New Year Eve. Then a wise old man found ways to expel Nian by making loud noises, sparkling light and red decorations. Those ways of protection led to how Chinese New Year is celebrated nowadays.

Preparation


Chinese New Year (CNY) marks the beginning of a new year which everyone for sure wish it to be a good one. So it is very important to make a good preparation for it, inclusive of buying new clothes, new shoes, having a haircut, washing cars and scooters, thoroughly cleaning the house. Those tasks could take up 2-3 weeks of time. Then you can start enjoy the joyful Chinese New Year.

New Year’s Eve – Reunion Dinner


The first CNY event is the Family Reunion Dinner (年夜飯, pinyin: nián yè fàn). Everyone in the family, no matter how far away home he or she lives, must come back for this dinner. It is even the only family gathering for the whole year for some families. Every member of the family starts the CNY off right with new clothes. From head to toe, all clothes and accessories worn on CNY’s days should be brand new. After the Family Reunion Dinner, all the entertainments are out to light up the “whole” night. Staying up late on the New Year Eve is a custom called Shou-shui (守歲, shǒu suì), which is believed to increase the longevity of life. Young teens have also got a good excuse of bringing longevity for their parents by playing video games, cards, board games or chatting all night long. Many opt to wear lucky red underwear especially when battling on the Mahjong table.

1st CNY Day – Temple Visit


1st CNY day is the good timing to visit temples to venerate Gods for good luck throughout the coming year. A popular activity in Taiwan is to compete to be the first one to plant the incense in the incense burner, which they believe to be the most blessed if they make it. Temples are the best recommended places for you to enjoy the atmosphere on this day.

Taboos on 1st CNY Day:

  • Avoid eating porridge and keeping vegetarian diet in the 1st CNY day’s morning are believed to bringing the good luck for the coming year.
  • No washing your hair or you may wash away the good luck by offending the God of Water.

2nd CNY Day – Married Daughters Back


The 2nd CNY day (回娘家, pinyin: huí niáng jiā) is for the married daughters to visit their birth parents and relatives. Traditionally, married women are not allowed to go back to their birth families frequently. This day is also the rare noisy and boisterous day in many quiet village because all the married daughters return home with their own families.

 

3rd CNY Day – Rats’ Wedding


3rd CNY day is called “Rats’ Wedding” (老鼠娶親, pinyin: lǎo shǔ qǔ qīn) that all the rats leave some rice and salt everywhere in the house, symbolizing abundant food for the year, when holding the wedding. People are suggested not to go out to travel or visit friend and should sleep early in order not to disturb the wedding of house rats. Although this tradition sounds like a fairy tale, it is indeed helpful because everyone must be very tired so far after preparing and running the Chinese New Year.

Taboos on 3rd CNY Day:

  • No traveling faraway and should sleep early for the rats to bring the salt and rice, symbols of wealth, home.

4th CNY Day – Welcome Gods Home


4th CNY day is for welcoming Gods home on this day after those Gods bring the year evaluation of the family back to heaven 5 days before the New Year’s Eve and enjoy their vacation until the 4 CNY day. People lit fireworks and prepare food, like candies and fruit, to make the atmosphere happy for ushering Gods back home.

Taboos on 4th CNY Day:

  • No going to bed late.

5th CNY Day – God of Wealth’s Birthday


This day is the God of Wealth’s birthday and also the first day of working for the most people. Most stores, restaurants and shops worships the God of Wealth and lit firecrackers to mark the brilliant first business day. This day is also the to clear out all the trash of the last 4 CNY days, which is believed as dumping the poverty out.

General Taboos


  • No having a haircut = signs of cutting the longevity of life
  • No more cleaning or sweeping = signs of sweeping out the good fortune
  • No quarreling, swearing and cursing = signs of ruining the lucky atmosphere
  • No scolding children = crying children scare away good luck
  • No unluck words (Esp, death or poverty) = signs of bringing bad luck
  • No visiting hospital = avoid the atmosphere of illness
  • No using sharp objects like scissors and needles = avoid dangerousness
  • Any debts owed to anybody should be paid off before Chinese New Year. Besides, lending or borrowing money should also be avoided. Debts during Chinese New Year is inauspicious to both the debtors and creditors.
  • No cooking during the CNY because the god of fire is also out for celebrating this festival. It is a favorable omen to eat the leftovers of the reunion dinner on the New Year’s Eve as breakfast, which forebodes that people always have more than they need.

【Event】Nostalgic Train Travel – Jiji

Time Travel in Jiji Railway Branch

2016.01.23 (Sat) 
 
Jiji line is the only existing train branch in Taiwan, representing the symbol of old time lifestyle.
Jiji has become the popular train travel spot on weekend.


Jiji line was built for the transportation of woods from the mountains to this woods collection factory.



Jiji old street is a good place to taste delicious snacks and find old time surprises.
Itinerary
8:00 Meet up at Tainan Train Station
08:00~10:30 Take train to Jiji
10:30~14:00 Time travel in Jiji
14:00~15:30 Small train to Wood Museum
15:30~17:00 Wood Storage Lake
17:00~19:00 Back to Tainan

【Event】Christmas Dinner Gathering

 
PM 7:00
2015.12.3 (Thu)
Tainan
We’re gonna have the Christmas dinner in a great restaurant of the famous 18th lane near NCKU.
Let ‘s celebrate this special day together!

Green-Olive Pasta
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【Event】Amazing Taidong Trip

Taitung Trip of Aboriginal Culture & Bio-diversity

Hands-on Interaction with Aboriginal Kids
 
2015.12.19 (Sat) ~ 2015.12.20 (Sun)
Enjoy the refreshing hot-spring and forest in the rear garden of Taiwan
Scientific hands-on with aboriginal kids and professional tour to the amazing bio-diversity of Taiwan
Itinerary
12/19( Sat) 12/20(Sun)
8:00 Bus Pick-up: Taichung 6:00~7:00 Morning walk in the serene forest
9:00 Bus Pick-up: Chiayi 7:00~8:00 Breakfast in Spring Resort
10:00 Bus Pick-up: Tainan 8:00~9:00 Preparation for Water-Rocket
11:00 Bus Pick-up: Kaohsiung 9:00~11:30 Water-Rocket Workshop
with aboriginal kids
12:00~13:30 Lunch in Pingtung 11:30~12:30 Lunch Break
13:30~15:30 Move to Taitung
(Chipen Spring Resort)
12:30~13:30 Rocket Launch Competition
16:00~18:00 Tour:
Amazing bio-diversity in Taiwan
13:30~15:30 Aboriginal Cultural Immersion
18:00~19:30 Banquet in Spring Resort 15:30~16:00 Farewell to the aboriginal kids
19:30~? Sleep time?
(Party time should be)
16:00 Back Home
(Expected 22:30 in Taichung)
Tour Price: NT 3,000 | Early Bird: NT 2,000 (Pay before 12/9)
(Mandarin Homestay Program Maker: Free)
Price includes accommodation, round-trip bus, insurance, hot-spring, meals of 2-days

【Event】Radish Party (Tainan)

Traditional Radish Cake Workshop

PM 4:00 – PM 9:00
2015.12.3 (Thu)
Tainan

16:00 Meet up (map)
16:00~19:00 Radish Cake Workshop
19:00~21:00 Radish Feast
21:00 Adios

 

We’ve harvested tons of radishes in our Mei-Nong trip so we decide to make a radish party.

Hands-on workshop will be very fun. If you can’t come at PM 4:00, you are still welcome for the dinner at PM 7:00.
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【Event】2015 Orientation Event

Get a Whole Picture of Taiwan in 1 Hour Seminar

All What You Must Know in Taiwan
 
 13:30 – 15:30
September 20 2015, EE Building, NCKU, Tainan
 
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Life Tips, Tasty Food, Fun People
13:30-14:00 Reception Making new friends English / 中文
14:00-15:00 Seminar Must-Known Life Tips in Taiwan English
15:00-15:10 Q&A Answers will be heard English
15:10-15:30 Tea Time Drinks, Snacks and Specialties English / 中文