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2018 Chinese New Year

Taipei—Ghost Town during Chinese New Year?


Taipei—Ghost Town during Chinese New Year?

Source:flickr@ashleypona, CC BY 2.0

Still wondering where to go for the coming holiday season? Fly a lantern to send your blessings, ask some friends to join you 'around the round table,' then drink yoursleves merry to welcome the new lunar year!



Taipei—Ghost Town during Chinese New Year?

By Sharon Tseng
web only

While shopping areas, like the famous Dihua District in Taipei, are currently bustled with people sourcing and stocking for the coming holiday, beware that many markets and streets will very likely be left deserted on Chinese New Year's Eve. If you are a foreigner in the capital who does not want to end up having microwave meals at convenient stores to start your new lunar year, the following are some places where you can go and have a little taste of the most symbolic holiday celebration of the Chinese calendar.

Chinese New Year’s Eve
Feb. 15th 2018

Tourist spots that will not be closed on New Year’s Eve include National Palace Museum (until 16:00), National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine, Yanminshan National Park, Taipei Confucius Temple (until noon), Hsing Tien Temple, and Longshan Temple. You may also have a spectacular view on the city in its holiday splendor from the observation deck of Taipei 101, or from a Ferris Wheel ride at Miramar on this special day, just remember that both will be closed by six in the evening.

For your New Year’s Eve dinner, many grand hotels in the city will be offering Chinese-New-Year-Special meals. Ask some foreign friends to join you ‘around the round table,’ to share wishes of luck for the coming new year and then drink yourselves merry! But before then, be sure to reserve a table as early as you can.

Image: CW

Normally on Chinese New Year's Eve, the later it gets, the livelier the temples and night markets become. In Longshan Temple, after nine in the evening, people will come to pray for the new year, to strike bells of worship, light prayer lamps, draw lots, and fill the temple with the aroma of incense.

Since the tradition has it that staying awake on the New Year's Eve may bring longevity for the parents, many stalls in night markets will resume late at night, to meet the needs of people streaming out their houses for a stroll, looking for snacks and entertainment.

Chinese New Year's Day
Feb. 16th

If you have not chosen to stay awake all night, you might find yourself awoken by a set of firecrackers in the very next day. On the morning of the first day of the New Year, families would set off firecrackers before going out, to drive away evil spirits, and perhaps your hangoverness.

Then you'll find the streets in the capital alive again with dancing dragon parades, religious activities, and excited children looking for places to spend their red envelope money.

Starting from this day, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, National History Museum, Songshan Culture and Creative Park, Huashan 1914 Creative park, Taipei City Zoo, Taipei Children’s Amusement Park, National Taiwan Science Education Center, and Taipei Water Park will resume with normal schedule. 

Yangmingshan Flower Festival

Feb. 23rd-March 25th

As one of the most well-known floral festivities on the island, the Yangmingshan Flower Festival has been attracting over a million visitors from across Taiwan and abroad every year. As the festival overlaps with the Lantern Festival (the end of the Chinese New Year holiday season), many people would choose to end their holidays in the embrace of cherry blossoms with their family. Right after cherry blossoms, camellia, indigenous Oldham’s Azalea, and Azalea will be bringing new shades of colors to the mountains. Bring a picnic, a camera, and plently of film for a stroll around the Flower Clock, fountain pool, cherry blossom creek area, statue of Wang Yangming, and the Azalea Garden. 

Taipei Lantern Festival
Feb 24th –March 4th 2018

This festival will be telling a story of the city with a myriad of lanterns. No smaller in scale than other famous celebrations overseas, world-renowned stars and theater troupes will also be invited to perform at the festival . Cultural and creative markets will also be offering interactive technology and visual-audio art performances to give the annual event a new twist. 

Sky Lantern Festival
March 2nd 2018

Remember the breathtaking scene from Disney’s animation movie Tangled? This was actually inspired from a real floating lantern festival that has taken place for centuries in Pingxi, Taiwan, where lanterns were used to send signals across long distances. Now they are used for purposes like religious worship, prayers and blessings, and of course, for fun. Starting from Feb. 13th, skies of Pingxi will be lightened up with the warmth, hopes, and blessings for the New Year. On March 2nd 2018, the “Pingxi International Sky Lantern Festival” will be featuring exciting activities that combine elements of traditional local culture with brand-new creativity. Take a 2-hour train ride from the capital to a village in New Taipei City and immerse yourself in the beauty of the glittering skies 

Treasure Hill Light Festival
March 24th –May 6th 2018

Following previous themes such as “Light to the Home”, “Meet the Light”, and “You are the Sunshine of my Life”, the 2018 Treasure Hill Light Festival is focused on deepening the direct experience at the site while trying to connect with other agencies. “Parallel Universe” is the theme of this year’s Light Festival. As you watch the performance from inside the village, at some point you will find yourself experiencing a displacement of time and space. Artists stationed at the village will beusing their artworks to reflect these unique experiences, as they comb through possible clues hidden in the village’s history and current conditions, residents, artists, visitors, the park itself and its surrounding areas.

Source: Travel Taipei, Sky Lantern Festival, Bipo TV

Additional Reading

The Many Faces of New Year's Feasts
Lunar New Year Cultural Outing: Join Artists in Taitung
Don’t Tell the Japanese to Visit Jiufen Anymore!