Taipei, Taiwan's annual lantern festival officially opened in Pingtung County, Southern Taiwan, Tuesday featuring lanterns based on local motifs and culture.
The opening ceremony for this year's Taiwan Lantern Festival, now in its 30th year, was held in the county's Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area in Dongang Township, the first time it has been held in a national scenic area, organizers said. Local Pingtung motifs and culture are on show at the festival, with the main lantern, which is 16 meters tall, depicting a giant black tuna, a renowned delicacy in the township, organizers noted. Other local elements in the lantern, named the "Fengzhu Pingtung Fortune Piggy," were inspired by the county's Windy Pig God, which is believed to bless visitors with vitality, peace and happiness, the organizers pointed out.
Tourism Bureau director-general Chou Yung-hui said this year's festival is truly representative of Pingtung as the lanterns combine elements of the county's history, culture, eco-tourism, local cuisine and customs.
Answering questions from reporters, Chou said visitors will need about 2.5 hours to see all the lanterns at the 38-hectare scenic area venue, and on-site personnel will help with any inquiries.
Chou also revealed that the total cost of the festival is about NT$500 million (US$16.2 million), of which NT$300 million was provided by the Tourism Bureau, NT$100 million invested by the county government and NT$100 million given by religious organizations and businesses.
Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Men-an said top local and foreign troupes from countries including France, Indonesia, Japan, Spain and South Korea will perform during the festival.
One of the highlights on the opening day was a drone light show by U.S.-based Intel Corp. arranged to celebrate the festival's 30th year.
In the show, which will be repeated on Feb. 23, 24, 28 and March 1, 300 drones puzzle together images of tuna, sails and the county's Eluanbi Lighthouse, along with the Chinese characters for Pingtung and the English word "Taiwan."
Meanwhile, 80,000 hand-held lanterns will be handed out during the festival, approximately 5,000 each day, the county government said.
The 2019 Taiwan Lantern Festival will run through March 3 at designated zones in Pingtung City, Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area and Donggang Township.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel