TAIPEI, Taiwan--()--The 2013 Taiwan Lantern Festival is being held in the HSR Hsinchu Station Special Zone from Feb. 24 to Mar. 10. President Ma Ying-jeou personally presided over the lantern-lighting ceremony.
The theme lantern, entitled “Soaring Dragon Brings Prosperity,” was donated by Chunghwa Telecom. This is actually the Year of the Snake, but the form of a flood dragon was chosen because, in Chinese, the snake is known as a “little dragon.” The lantern is more than 20 meters tall and wide, and weighs about 26 tons; it shows the flood dragon rising from the water to soar into the sky, surrounded by swirling mists and infused with a majestic aspect, symbolizes harmony and prosperity in the year ahead. It revolves twice an hour, at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour, in a six-step sound-and-light performance. Four subsidiary lanterns, symbolizing peace and prosperity, are placed around the theme lantern.
The Welcoming Lantern Area welcomes visitors through three gates: the Welcoming Spring Gate, Crystal Gate, and Flying Gate, leading to displays of traditional red lanterns, LED lanterns, and wealth-beseeching lanterns, respectively. The Traditional Lantern Area is filled with lanterns depicting the coexistence of culture and high technology with the city, and the Joyful Lantern Area focuses on the realm of sci-fi. The Competition Lantern Area contains a collection of works created by master craftsmen that exemplify local culture; this year, for the first time, there is a Hakka Romance section with displays that showcase the culture of Taiwan’s Hakka people.
The lantern-lighting ceremony was graced with performances by a group from the Tokyo Disney Resort, with Mickey, Minnie, and all their friends on stage. A joint performance by the Taipei First Girls High School and the Hsinchu County Guangming Elementary School followed. More performances were provided by the Hsinchu Dream-maker Dance Group, Hsin Wu Flower Drum Band, National Tainan Jiaqi Girls Senior High School, Ten Drum Art Percussion Group, Ju Percussion Group, Taiwan Dance & Sport Federation, several song-and-dance groups from all over Japan, and famous Japanese singer (and Taiwan’s Tourism Ambassador) Kobayashi Sachiko. The festivities will continue until the Taiwan Lantern Festival comes to an end at 10:15 p.m. on Mar. 10.