Monday, March 1, 2010

Taiwan: Pingshi Sky Lantern Festival

So I've been in Taiwan for about a week and a half now, sorry to just now be posting my first blog about it but I arrived in Taiwan as a student trying to find lodging, friends and to figure out a new city where english is less than common rather than arriving in Hong Kong as a food tourist with a friend who speaks both Cantonese and Mandarin in a city that mostly speaks english. I'll slowly give some backstory to my past week and a half in the posts to follow this one.

Last night a few friends and I went to Pingshi to witness the Sky Lantern Festival. We travelled there by train despite the warnings not to do so due to overcrowding. I don't have a picture of how crowded the train was because there was no room for me to get out my camera. I am pretty sure that I was smaller when I got off the train than when I got onto it, I've never been so tightly compressed. This picture is a small sample of the people who poured off the train with us, it doesn't even begin to depict the massive crowd of people in Pingshi.

After wandering around a bit we stumbled upon a family who was sending off a lantern, after watching them complete the process they invited us to do likewise. They showed us what to do and gave us all the supplies, this is our lantern taking off.

This was meant to be a photo showing how densely crowded the festival which it does even better accompanied by my reassurance that this photo better serves to example a break in the crowd than it does to example how crowded this town was, we had absolutely no personal space for the next five hours after this photo was taken.

Night shooting, a jostly crowd and a lack of a tripod led to this blurry photo depicting a lantern with fireworks attached to the bottom. The small red dots in the background were other lanterns.

A Lantern released at the Pingshi Sky Lantern Festival. The tradition is to write your hopes for the new year on the lantern. The things which they told us to write were the exact kind of things which I hear many Christians say that they pray for.

another picture of the crowd in Pingshi

Another lantern with fireworks attached.

They released massive numbers of lanterns as a group every thirty minutes or so.

This is as close to the field where the mass release happens before we gave up getting any closer, it was a good decision because it took us over three hours to get from here onto a bus to Taipei.

A couple releasing their lantern. The method is to hold the paper open for long enough for the fire to start to bring it aloft, you can see here how they have just stopped holding it back.

Some lanterns got stuck in trees.

Others in power lines.

We finally made it onto a bus home. I don't think I had ever been so glad to sit down.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Wondering if you have any suggestions of how to do this better now that you've been. Going next year so would love to get the most out of the experience.