歡度團圓佳節 正月十五慶元宵|Everything is illuminated — Taipei During the Lantern Festival

林健兒老師在2014年打造的駿馬花燈,栩栩如生|The ultra-realistic horse lanterns that Lin Jian-er created in 2014. (Courtesy of Lin Jian-er)
林健兒老師在2014年打造的駿馬花燈,栩栩如生|The ultra-realistic horse lanterns that Lin Jian-er created in 2014. (Courtesy of Lin Jian-er)

【看英文中國郵報學英文】農曆正月十五日元宵節,又有「小過年」之稱。在一年中第一次月圓的這一天,家家戶戶張燈結綵,依循傳統習俗賞花燈、猜燈謎、吃元宵,好不熱鬧。

The Lantern Festival (元宵節), also known as “Little New Year,” is on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar. On this first full moon of the year, every family decorates their house with lanterns and streamers. The bustling streets are filled with people who are heading to enjoy the illuminated lantern festivals, join lantern riddle games, and eat yuan xiao (元宵) to celebrate the holiday and enjoy precious, quality family time.

談及元宵節的由來和淵源,中華民俗藝術基金會董事長林明德表示,古老社會有燃火炬取暖,為冬夜迎春、帶來光明溫暖的習俗;相傳東漢明帝篤信佛法,每年正月十五就會燃燈表佛,這個習俗逐漸在民間流傳開來;加上道教三元節,正月十五上元節天官大帝誕辰,民間會舉辦齋會、燃燈祈福,這是元宵節的由來。

Lin Mingde (林明德), chairman of the Chinese Folk-Arts Foundation (中華民俗藝術基金會), shares the story of the origin of the Lantern Festival. “Legend has it that Emperor Ming of Eastern Han Dynasty (漢明帝) was an advocate of Buddhism. He began lighting lanterns to show respect to Buddha on the 15th day of the first lunar month.” The custom gradually became a grand festival among the people. Along with the Taoist San-Yuan Festival (三元節) and the birthday of Emperor of Heaven (天官大帝), also on the same date, people would celebrate the day by holding a vegan feast and lighting lanterns for blessings. As the years passed, it turned into the Lantern Festival we all love and enjoy.

2020台北燈節西主場也將用亮麗燈光照亮北門廣場|The 2020 Taipei Lantern Festival will feature a brilliant showcase of illumination technology at North Gate Square. (Courtesy of Taipei City Government's Department of Information and Tourism)
2020台北燈節西主場也將用亮麗燈光照亮北門廣場| The 2020 Taipei Lantern Festival will feature a brilliant showcase of illumination technology at North Gate Square. (Courtesy of Taipei City Government’s Department of Information and Tourism)

大口吃元宵 賞燈玩剪紙 |Gulping Down Yuan Xiao, Watching Lantern Shows and the Art of Chinese Papercutting

元宵節吃元宵祈求圓滿,是大家耳熟能詳的習俗,民眾常把「元宵」和「湯圓」混淆,中國大陸北方地區稱「元宵」,南方地區稱「湯圓」,除了名稱因地而異,在作法上也略有不同,「元宵」是餡料糰放在撒滿乾糯米粉的竹篩上滾來滾去後,取出灑水,反覆直至適當大小;「湯圓」則是將溼糯米搓揉成糰,包入餡料,用手心揉成圓狀。

Among all the customs of the Lantern Festival, eating yuan xiao for good fortune is the most well-known custom. The difference between yuan xiao and tangyuan (湯圓), which people often get confused, is that yuan xiao is the term used in northern China while tangyuan is used in southern China. Apart from the name varying from place to place, more slight differences lie in the way they are made. Yuanxiao is made by having the filling rolled in a bamboo basket containing dry glutinous rice flour. The step is repeated until the ball grows into a suitable round shape. By contrast, tangyuan is made of a wet glutinous rice wrapper which covers the filling and is kneaded into a round ball by hand.

吃完元宵後,當然就是準備出門賞花燈。相較其他華人地區,台灣元宵節更有其特色。早年各地在宮廟舉辦節慶盛會,婦女在寺廟燈籠底下鑽燈腳求添丁,此外燈會期間會在展示的花燈上書寫謎題,供人猜射,富含巧思與教育意涵,相當於今日的益智遊戲,而今日的元宵節也延續了這項傳統活動。「剪紙」更是不可或缺的元宵傳統元素,將具有民俗意象的剪紙黏貼在花燈上,既別出心裁,也富含藝術和人文深度。

It goes without saying that after having yuan xiao, getting ready to go out to view lanterns is the next logical step. Compared with other Chinese regions, the Lantern Festival in Taiwan has its own characteristics

林明德進一步補充說道,據說古代私塾還將元宵節結合開學日,請老師為每位學生點智慧燈,讓學生返家懸掛,勉勵自己努力向學。種種文化習俗加深了節日意涵,富有廟會民俗與人文趣味的元宵燈節,才更具溫度。

In the early years, festivals were held in local temples. Women would crawl underneath the temple lanterns to supplicate for a son. In addition, riddles are written on the lanterns for people to guess the meanings. The art of “papercutting” is another indispensable tradition of the Lantern Festival. Paper cut-outs with folk images pasted to the lanterns represent both a sense of artistry and profound humanity.

花燈比創意 日夜各精彩|Lanterns Shine with their own Creativity Day and Night

元宵節的重頭戲――賞花燈,以往多由各地廟宇籌辦,準備各式大小花燈供人欣賞,做工精巧的各式花燈呈現五彩繽紛的意象。現今則多為各地縣市政府舉辦,結合當地自然地景、人文特色來規畫主題,將城市當成大型的花燈展演舞台,令人目不暇給。

As the main activity of the Lantern Festival, lantern shows used to be an event solely prepared by local temples. There were a variety of large and small lanterns for people to look upon, with exquisite workmanship presenting a wide variety of colorful images. Nowadays, lantern shows are often organized by local governments. By combining local natural landscapes and cultural characteristics, the city becomes a feast for the eyes as the Lantern Festival draws near.

中華花燈藝術學會前理事長、從事花燈藝術創作三十多年的燈藝師林健兒分享:「傳統花燈以竹篾(薄而狹長的細竹片)和細竹桿做骨架,紙糊表面後用剪紙圖樣或精緻繪畫點綴燈面。現代花燈則改以鐵絲塑形,焊接後噴漆做防鏽處理,裱貼透光彈性布面,而後在燈面裝飾彩繪,讓光亮色澤更帶有層次。」

Lin Jianer (林健兒), former chairman of the Chinese Artistic Lantern Association (中華花燈藝術學會) and a light artist who has been involved in the creation of lanterns for more than 30 years, shares his comments. “When making traditional lanterns, thin bamboo strips and rods were used to make the frames and then covered in paper. Today’s lanterns are modified by using iron wire for the frame. After welding, a transparent elastic cloth will be applied to the lanterns’ covers. Later on, the lanterns’ surfaces are decorated with paintings to bring out layers of bright colors.”

整體結構、造型創意、裝飾材料及燈光色彩是構成花燈藝術的要素。林健兒說,尤其以人物為形體的花燈最難製作,「人體的比例經數倍放大會失真,通常需要先畫圖、做模型後才能正式製作。」發想與設計繪製是做花燈的重要環節,而攸關花燈外型色彩的燈光裝置,更是一門學問。「好的作品必須白天看起來獨特精巧,在夜間亮燈時,遠看有如火樹銀花,近看則光彩奪目、晶瑩剔透。」

The overall structure, creative design, decorative materials and lighting colors are key elements that make up the art of crafting lanterns. Lin says that the lanterns in the form of human figures are the most difficult type to make. “The proportions of the human body will be distorted after several times of magnification. It usually needs to be sketched and prototyped before officially being put into production.”

林健兒老師已有三十年製作傳統花燈的豐富經驗|Lin Jian-er has 30 years of experience making traditional lanterns. (Courtesy of Lin Jian-er)
林健兒老師已有三十年製作傳統花燈的豐富經驗|Lin Jian-er has 30 years of experience making traditional lanterns. (Courtesy of Lin Jian-er)

飛龍初登場 轟動台北城|Flying Dragon Debut Creates an Overnight Sensation in Taipei City

談起台灣燈會的歷史沿革,林健兒表示,1983年起在國父紀念館舉辦的大型花燈遊行,景象喧騰熱鬧,堪稱燈會前身。其中民俗廟會中由小孩扮演歷史故事角色的「藝閣」,演變成為今日定點展出的電動花燈。

Speaking of the history of Taiwan’s Lantern festive events, Lin indicates that the large-scale lantern parade held at the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall since 1983 can be regarded as the antecedent of Taiwan’s Lantern Festivals nowadays. And yige (藝閣, floats), in which children played roles in historical plays, in the folk temple fairs has gradually evolved into displays of electric lanterns that are exhibited on site today.

其中2000年在中正紀念堂展出,由陳金泉設計製作的「千禧祥瑞九龍燈」,氣勢磅礴,「奇妙的是,相傳龍帶水,那一年的燈會竟連下了十幾天的雨,民眾只好相偕在雨中賞燈。」令從第一屆燈會參與至今的林健兒印象最為深刻。

In Lin’s opinion, the lantern “Auspicious Millennial and Nine Dragons Lantern (千禧祥瑞九龍燈)” exhibited in 2000 at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, was the most magnificent and unforgettable work in recent years. “Taiwanese believe that a dragon brings water to the world. During the lantern festival that year, it rained for more than ten days in a row, and so people had to enjoy the show together in the rain!” Lin shares, tone rippling with excitement.

2012年台北燈節林健兒老師作品「祥龍獻瑞」|“Lucky Dragon Brings Prosperity and Good Fortune” exhibited during the 2012 Taipei Lantern Festival. (Courtesy of Lin Jian-er)
2012年台北燈節林健兒老師作品「祥龍獻瑞」|“Lucky Dragon Brings Prosperity and Good Fortune” exhibited during the 2012 Taipei Lantern Festival. (Courtesy of Lin Jian-er)

鼠年轉動台北 沿街賞創作|Year of The Mouse Turns Taipei into a City of Street Art

2020台北燈節將自2月8日起至16日史無前例以雙主場舉辦,西區主場一如往常將點亮中華路一段、忠孝西路一段人行道、北門廣場和交8廣場一帶,而首次登場的東區舞台,則將前進南興公園及南港車站周邊,藉由影像、聲音、燈光等互動式科技,為台北營造嶄新現代氛圍。同時更以『轉洞台北轉動光』為主題帶入鼠年氣氛,期盼東西主場能如鼠洞串聯,與大家共同轉動元宵佳節。

The 2020 Taipei Lantern Festival will be held from February 8 to 16, and for the first time, it will be presented in a pair of zones on opposite sides of the city. The West Zone will light up the Ximending (西門町) area, section one of Zhonghua Road (中華路), North Gate Square (北門廣場), Taipei Travel Plaza Part II (交八廣場) and so forth. The East Zone will be around the Nanxing Park (南興公園) and Nangang Station areas to create a fresh, modern atmosphere for Taipei through interactive displays.

如果覺得意猶未盡,不要錯過傳統的祈福燈會,像是艋舺龍山寺在每年農曆正月十五日至二月十九日,精心布置平安總燈與生肖祈福主燈,讓民眾鑽燈腳祈求來年平安,並於東西廂房、牌樓上懸掛應景花燈,增添歲時節慶的歡騰熱鬧。

What’s more, don’t miss the traditional lantern lighting ceremony. For example, Longshan Temple conducts the lantern blessing event every year from January 15 to February 19 of the lunar calendar. One main lantern representing peace and the other Chinese zodiac lanterns symbolizing blessings for the new year are carefully arranged, to welcome people walking underneath and praying for peace. Moreover, lanterns are hung on the east and west wings, and along the arched ceilings of the temple, further adding to the joy of the festive season.

二月初春慶元宵,在團圓歡慶之際重拾傳統節日的重要意義,也別錯過了新年迎春最絢麗的台北燈節!

To experience the importance of traditional gatherings firsthand and come together in celebration, do not miss the tremendous upcoming Taipei Lantern Festival!

林健兒老師在2014年打造的駿馬花燈,栩栩如生|The ultra-realistic horse lanterns that Lin Jian-er created in 2014. (Courtesy of Lin Jian-er)
林健兒老師在2014年打造的駿馬花燈,栩栩如生|The ultra-realistic horse lanterns that Lin Jian-er created in 2014. (Courtesy of Lin Jian-er)

Translation by Joe Henley, JR Wu

 


This article is reproduced under the permission of TAIPEI. Original content can be found at the website of Taipei Travel Net (www.travel.taipei/en).

Read More from The China Post