TAIPEI–The annual sky lantern festival in Pingxi District will get off the ground today with thousands of paper lanterns lighting up the skies above New Taipei, the city government said recently. The organizers said more than 5,800 sky lanterns and 2,500 wooden amulets will be distributed to the public for free during the four days of the festival — Jan. 26 and 28, and Feb. 4 and 6. On Feb. 4, a 20-foot sky lantern will be released by selected members of the public, who would have upload photos and left messages on the festival’s official website before Jan. 25, the organizers said. In past years, the ritual of releasing gigantic sky lanterns was reserved for government officials.
The highlight of the festival will be the simultaneous release of a record-breaking 1,000 sky lanterns on Feb. 6, according to the city government.
First held in 1999, the sky lantern festival in Pingxi was named by Discovery Channel in 2008 as the world’s second largest carnival. In 2002, it was designated as one of the three largest lantern festivals in Taiwan by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.