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Culture & Heritage

* Lantern Festival
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There are two origins of the Lantern Festival. First, it evolves from the ritual of the Han court. Second, it derives from the three yuan festivals. Traditionally, the fifteenth day of the first lunar month is referred to as the shang-yuan, i.e. the beginning of a new year, because it is the birthday of deity tiengongdadi. Then, the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month is known as the jhongyuan, i.e. the beginning of the middle of the year, because it is the birthday of the deity digongdadi. Finally, the fifteenth day of the tenth lunar month is called the shayuan, i.e. the beginning of the fall of the year, because it is the birthday of deity suigongdadi. Amongst these three yuan festivals, the shangyuan festival is the most hilarious and important to people.
The fifteenth day of the first lunar month is the Lantern Festival. It is also known as shangyuan, yuansao festivals. People will organize various events to celebrate the festival. It is also the last day of the Spring Festival. After this day, everything will return to normal. Therefore, people will take this final chance to celebrate. It is also known as the second Chinese New Year.
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event of the festival. Lantern was called gutzedeng because lanterns in the past were in the shape of drums and cymbals. In fact, there were many kinds of lanterns, such as the ribbon lantern seen in temples, the trotting horse lantern found in shops, and the drum-like lantern carried by children. Today, most lanterns are electrically controlled and made according to folk tales, such as the parade of the champion in the imperial examination, the birthday celebration of the Eight Immortals, the sworn brotherhood in Taoyuan, expressing the context of loyalty, filial piety and other virtues.
     Moreover, the firework show in Yensui (
鹽水) of Tainan, the International Firework Festival held by the Shengmu Temple (聖母廟) in Luerhmen (鹿耳門), the tiendeng event in Pingsi (平溪) Taipei are special events to celebrate the hilarious Lantern Festival.

(4) Guessing lantern riddles
     People used to guess lantern riddles at temples in the past because temples were places for recreation. As lantern contests and demonstrations were also held there, people would prepare riddles on lanterns as a kind of entertainment. Winners could win a prize, symbolizing the good luck of the new year. Today, riddles are put in newspapers or magazines, some TV channels will televise the event held at a certain temple, or some hosts will add riddles in their programs, in order to fulfill the demands of different audiences. These have revealed the multitude of how modern people celebrate a traditional festival.

(5) Dragon and lion dances
     The dragon lantern is a common feature of Chinese people celebrating the festival in different parts of the world because the dragon is a mascot in Chinese legends and the token of the Chinese nation. In olden days, people in Taiwan stuck gauze on the bamboo drum in the shape of a dragon to make the dragon lantern about 70-80 feet long. After putting candles inside the dragon head and body, people carried the lantern and chased after the dragon pearl, as if in a kind of dance. This event was known as the dragon dance. On the evening of January 15th, lion parades in different places would join the event known as the lion dance. All these were done for dispelling the evil and praying for good luck. They were also a kind of celebration of the Chinese New Year.

Date to Watch the Ceremony
  Lantern Festival: February/28/2010