Taipei, March 1 (CNA) The 2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival kicks off on Friday in Chiayi County, with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) turning on the lights, an aerial display by five F-16 fighter jets and an array of lanterns celebrating the Year of the Dog.
The main lantern for the festival depicts a smiling indigenous child with a canine companion standing on top of Alishan mountain in the southwestern county.
The 21-meter tall lantern, named “Loyal Auspiciousness,” symbolizes “the past, standing firmly in the present, and looking forward to the future,” according to the official website for the Taiwan Lantern Festival.
“The message it sends is that we want the world to see Taiwan and we also welcome people from all over the world to visit Taiwan,” the website reads.
In addition to the main lantern, there is a supporting lantern area for the two lanterns that make up the three featured lanterns for the 10-day festival.
These are “Station of Happiness,” which depicts a chariot and a mini train, and “Rays of the Sun,” which showcases the mikado pheasant, which is indigenous to Taiwan.
The many other lantern areas use different elements of traditional art, LED lights and modern design to represent the beauty of Taiwan and Chiayi culture.
A rehearsal will take place Thursday evening, featuring the F-16 jets which will fly from their Air Force base in Chiayi.
Given the large crowds that are expected at the festival, the Chiayi County government is urging people, where possible, to take public transport.
There will be free shuttle buses from Taiwan Railways Administration’s Chiayi and Nanjing stations, as well as High Speed Railway’s Chiayi station, running from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends to the lantern festival site.
(By Huang Guo-fang and Kuan-lin Liu)