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Taiwan celebrates Chinese New Year in style with Lantern Festival

24th January 2013 Print
Lantern Festival

The Far East island of Taiwan is preparing for a month of celebrations for Chinese New Year, one of the country's most important festivals. This year, Chinese New Year falls on February 10, but the celebrations will continue until the end of the month when Taiwan hosts the 23rd annual Lantern Festival to welcome the Year of the Snake. The festival takes place from February 24-March 10 2013.

Taiwan's largest festival, the Lantern Festival, is held annually on the first full moon of the lunar calendar - this year, February 24. This event forms the final celebrations of the traditional Chinese New Year and the two-week long festival is celebrated throughout the country with towns and villages putting on beautiful displays of decorative lanterns depicting birds, beasts and historical figures. The main festival is held in a different town every year, with the 2013 event being held in Hsinchu County.

Hsinchu County, which is in North Western Taiwan, will be hosting the festival with the main themes of 'animation, technology and culture' which represents the county's local cultural characteristics. The Hsinchu County Government website will also create a website for the festival, allowing viewers from around the world to watch the event through multi-media and video streaming, as well as social network activities.

The lanterns at the 2013 festival will also be celebrating the symbol of the year's Chinese Zodiac, the snake. The snake is said to symbolise the image of a dragon on the grounds, believed to bring peace, prosperity and courage. More than 80,000 small snake lanterns will be handed out to visitors
during the celebration.

Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is celebrated from the first to the fifth day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar with a number of customs and traditions. On Chinese New Year's Eve for example, families complete their spring cleaning, signifying the sweeping away of the misfortunes of the previous year. Adults will also give the younger members of the family, particularly children, red envelopes with money inside as a sign of peace and good fortune. Fire crackers are later set off to welcome the arrival of the New Year.

Chinese New Year is an excellent time to visit Taiwan and tour operators such as Audley Travel and Cox and Kings can put together tailor-made itineraries including a visit to the opening of the Lantern Festival on February 24.

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Lantern Festival