Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival Ancient History & Old Street:
According to the elders of Pingxi, the Sky Lantern Festival originated in the Xing Dynasty, more than two thousand years ago. At that time, bands of outlaws frequently raided the lowland villages, forcing residents to seek refuge in the lush, verdant mountains. Village watchmen used “fire balloons” as signals to inform the refugees that their houses were safe once again. When those hiding in the hills saw the celestial flares, they knew it was time to go home.
Watching Dreams Take Flight in Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival 2018
The main activity is to buy a lantern, scribble your desires and ambitions on it, then send it into the heavens. The lanterns are made out of oiled rice paper, sheepskin, bamboo filaments, silk, or satin outfitted with a large candle at the bottom. As the lamps heat up, they take flight and linger in the air for as long as the flame still flickers.
After ambling a half-mile down Old Street, you’ll arrive at the main stage. In contrast to the down-home feel of the town’s principle road, you can tell that a major production has been bustling on this side of town: big screens, television cameras, celebrities and musicians are everywhere. The scene requires enormous crowd control, the ushering people in and out of prime viewing spots.
Upon arriving in Pingxi, you can either walk along Old Street or head directly to the main stage. We’d recommend hitting the Old Street first to get a more intimate experience of the main commercial thoroughfare before the 80,000 festival attendees arrive.
Arrive before the crowds. Aim to get to Old Street before it gets too congested. If you have some extra time to kill, visit the surprisingly fascinating Coal Mine Museum.
Make a list of your aspirations in advance. In the flurry of the festival, you won’t have time for an introspective moment.
Practice your night shots. Bring a camera even if you’re not a shutterbug. Beauty surrounds you everywhere.
- Plan return transportation carefully. The shuttle bus going back to Taipei starts getting very crowded at around 8pm. If you’re in a rush to get back, consider buying a standing-room ticket.